The Builder Magazine
July 1919 - Volume V - Number 7
THE CRYPT AT MCALLISTER, OKLAHOMA
BY BRO. C.E. CREAGER, OKLAHOMA
WHEN the Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters of Oklahoma recently
assembled at the Crypt on "Mount Moriah," an atmosphere of Cryptic Masonry
enveloped the brethren and pervaded the entire session, for probably no body of men
ever assembled in a place more appropriate to the occasion.
The Crypt in which the Grand Council held its Assembly is the home of Union Council
No. 1, R. & S. M., located at McAlester, Oklahoma, a city of 20,000 busy people. It is
situated on a mountain four miles north of the city. The elevation is a little over a
thousand feet above the fertile valley, the city being built upon a knoll which overlooks
green prairies in every direction. Looking eastward, southward and westward from the
wooded cliff on which, or rather in which the buildings are constructed, is a panorama
which includes five different towns, the home of 40,000 people, thousands of cattle
grazing upon the velvet prairie pasture, the Oklahoma State penitentiary and two trunk
line railroads and many beautiful country drives stretching here and there like "so many
threads of silver winding o'er the plains." And hidden away beneath it all are coal mines
representing wealth of over fifty millions of dollars.
A temporary road leads from the city to the top of the mountain, but in due time this is
to be made into a permanent and beautified drive which will form a link of a chain in
McAlester' s famous "sky-line" drive.
The Crypt itself consists of two buildings, thirty by ninety feet, built into the solid rock.
Each building is of two stories but the lower floors are in reality excavations. The older
and higher building contains the main assembly, preparation and lobby rooms, which
are on the upper floor. This floor is supported by nine arches of natural stone.
Immediately beneath the altar, on the upper floor of this building, beginning at the last
of the series of nine arches, is another subterranean passage leading to the south and
descending in a series of three, five and seven steps to the second or lower building.
The upper building is used entirely for degree work, while the lower is used for the
conferring of the "knife and fork" degree and such similar work as may be found
necessary from time to time.
Extending westward from the upper building, with a roof of the same height, is a porch,
the balconies and eaves of which are appropriately inscribed. Even the style of
architecture is suggestive and interesting.
Within a triangular enclosure near the northeast comer of the main building many
interesting and appropriate relics are deposited. This deposit is to be unearthed, and a
new deposit made, in the year of 2014, or Anno Deposit 3014.
Brother Edward H. Doyle, one of the oldest and most interesting Masons in the
Southwest, surveyed the site and perfected the plans for the Crypt, after the idea had
been fully developed by himself and Brothers Springer, Essex and Voorhees. Brother E.
T. Richards, then of McAlester but now located in Kansas City, approved the idea and
the plans. Brothers Richards and Springer financed the project, assisted by others, but
no contribution in money or sentiment is more highly valued by the companions than
the active, prayerful and sincere cooperation of the ladies of the Eastern Star, who feel
as much at home on Mount Moriah as they do in their own chapter room.
Several years ago the Grand Council of Oklahoma took official action to encourage the
project by extending to Union Council concurrent jurisdiction with all other Councils
within the State. In consequence of this action pilgrimages are made to Mount Moriah
twice each year by Royal and Select Masters from all parts of the State, and fortunate
indeed is the candidate who is permitted to receive the Cryptic degrees within this
unique assembly room.
Complete arrangements have not yet been completed for conferring the Super-Excellent
degree, with its unlimited possibilities, but it is hoped that within the near future the
upper floor of the second building can be properly equipped for this purpose. An
independent electric light plant has already been installed.
— o —
BY BRO. DUDLEY WRIGHT, ASSISTANT EDITOR "THE FREEMASON,"
PART II THE ELEUSINIAN MYSTERTIES
THE Eleusinian Mysteries, observed by nearly all Greeks, but particularly by the
Athenians, were celebrated yearly at Eleusis, though in the earlier annals of their
history, they were celebrated once in every three years only, and once in every four
years by the Celeans, Cretans, Parrhasians, Pheneteans, Phliasians, and Spartans. It
was the most celebrated of all the religious ceremonies of Greece at any period of the
country's history and was regarded as of such importance that the Festival is referred
to frequently simply as "The Mysteries." The rites were guarded most jealously and
carefully concealed from the unnitiated. If any person divulged any part of them he
was regarded as having offended against the divine law and by the act he rendered
himself liable to divine vengeance. It was accounted unsafe to abide in the same house
with him and as soon as his offence was made public he was apprehended. Similarly,
drastic punishnent was meted out to any person not initiated into the mysteries who
chanced to be present at their celebraion, even through ignorance or genuine error.
The Mysteries were divided into two parts-the Lesser Mysteries and the Greater
Mysteries. The lesser Mysteries were said to have been instituted when Hercules,
Castor, and Pollux expressed a desire to be initiated, they happening to be in Athens at
the time of the celebration of the Mysteries by the Athenians in accordance with the
ordinance of Demeter. Not being Athenians they were ineligible for the honour of
initiation, but the difficulty was overcome by Eumolpus, who was desirous of
including in the ranks of the initited a man of such power and eminence as Hercules,
foreigner though he might be. The three were first made citizens, and then, as a
preliminary to the initiation ceremony as prescribed by the goddess, Eumolpus
instituted the Lesser Mysteries, which then and afterwards became a ceremony
preliminary to the Greater Mysteries, as they then became known, for candidates of
alien birth. In later times, this lesser festival, celebrated in the month of Anthesterion,
at the beginning of spring, at Agra, became a general preparation for the Greater
Festival and no persons were initiated into the Greater Mysteries until they had first
been initiated into the Lesser.
The ceremonies of the Lesser Mysteries were entirely different from those of the
Greater Mysteries. The Lesser Mysteries represented the return of Persephone to earth
which, of course, took place at Eleusis, and the Greater Mysteries represented her
descent to the infernal regions. The Lesser Mysteries honoured the daughter more
than the mother, who was the principal figure in the Greater Mysteries. In the Lesser
Mysteries, Persephone was known as Pherrephatta, and in the Greater Mysteries she
was given the name of Kore. Everything was in fact a mystery and nothing was called
by its right name. Lenormant says that it is certain that the initiated of the Lesser
Mysteries carried away from Agra a certain store of religious knowledge which
enabled them to understand the symbols and representations which afterwards were
displayed before their eyes at the Greater Mysteries at Eleusis.
The object of the Lesser Mysteries was to signify occultly the condition of the impure
soul invested with a terrene body and merged in a material nature. The Greater
Mysteries taught that he, who, in the present life, is in subjection to his irrational part,
is truly in Hades. If Hades, then, is the region of punishment and misery, the purified
soul must reside in the region of bliss, theoretically in the present life and according to
a deific energy in the next. They intimated by gorgeous mystic visions the felicity of
the soul, both here and hereafter, when purified from the defilements of a material
nature and consequently elevated to the realities of intellectual vision.
No one was permitted to attend the Mysteries who had incurred the capital
punishment for treason or conspiracy, but all other exiles were permitted to be present
and were not molested in any way during the whole period of the Festival. No one
could be arrested for debt during the holding of the Festival.
Scarcely anything is known of the programme observed during the course of the
Lesser Mysteries. They were celebrated on the 19th to 21st of the month Anthesterion
and, like the Greater Mysteries, were preceded and followed by a truce on the part of
all engaged in warfare. The same officials presided at both celebrations. The Lesser
Mysteries opened with a sacrifice to Demeter and Persephone, a portion of the victims
ofiered being reserved for the members of the sacred families of Eumolpus and
Keryce. The main object of the Lesser Mysteries was to put the candidates for
initiation in a condition of ritual purification and, according to Clement of Alexandria,
they included certain instructions and preparations for the Greater Mysteries. Like the
Eleusinian Mysteries, properly so- called, they included dramatic representations of
the rape of Persephone and the wanderings of Demeter, in addition, according to
Stephen Byzantium, to certain Dionysian representations.
Two months before the full moon of the month of Boedromion, sphondophoroi or
heralds selected from the priestly families of the Eumolpides and Keryces went forth
to announce the forthcoming celebration of the Greater Mysteries and to claim an
armistice on the part of all who might be waging war. The truce commenced on the
1 5th of the month preceding the celebration of the Mysteries and lasted until the tOth
day of the month following the celebration. In order to be valid the truce had to be
proclaimed in and accepted by each Hellenic city.
All arrangements for the proper celebration of the Mysteries, both Lesser and Greater,
were in the hands of the families of Eumolpides and Keryces. These were ancient
Eleusinian families, whose origin was traced back to the time when Eleusis was
independent of Athens, and the former family survived as a priestly caste down to the
latest period of Athenian history. Its members possessed the hereditary and sole right
to the secrets of the Mysteries. Hence the recognition by the State to their exclusive
right and privilege to direct the initiations and to provide each a half of the religious
staff of the temple. Pausanias relates that following a war between the Eleusinians and
the Athenians when Erectheus, King of Athens, conquered Immaradus, son of
Eumolpus, the subdued Eleusinians, in making their submission, stipulated that they
should remain custodians of the Mysteries, but in all other respects were to be subject
to the Athenians. This tradition is disputed by more modem writers, but it was
accepted by the Athenians and acted upon generally, and the right of the two families
solely to prepare candidates for initiation was recognized by a decree of the fifth
century B. C., the privilege being confirmed afterwards at a convention between the
representatives of Eleusis and Athens. The Eumolpides were the descendants of a
mythical ancestor, Eumolpus, son of Neptune, who is first mentioned in the time of
Pisastrus. On the death of Eumolpus, Ceryx, the younger of the sons was left. But the
Keryces claimed that Ceryx was a son of Hermes by Aglamus, daughter of Cecrops,
and that he was not a son of Eumolpus.
The members of the family of Eumolpides had the first claim upon the flesh of the
sacrificed animals; but they were permitted to give a portion to any one else as a
reward or recompense for services rendered. But when a sacrifice was offered to any
of the infernal divinities the whole of it had to be consumed by the fire; nothing must
be left. All religious problems relating to the Mysteries which could not be solved by
the known laws were addressed to the Eumolpides, whose decision was final.
The meaning of the name "Eumolpus" is "a good singer," and great importance was
attached to the quality of the voice in the selection of the hierophant, the chief
officiant at the celebration of the Mysteries and at the ceremony of initiation, and who
was selected from the family of the Eumolpides. It was essential that the formulae
disclosed to the initiates at Eleusis should be pronounced with the proper intonation,
for otherwise the words would have no efficacy. Correct intonation was of far greater
importance than syllabic pronunciation. An explanation of this is given by Maspero
The human voicee is pre-eminently a magical instrument, without which none of the
highest operations of art can be successful: each of its utterances is carried into the
region of the invisible and there released forces of which the general run of people
have no idea, either as to their existence or their manifold action. Without doubt, the
real value of an evocation lies in its text, or the sequence of the words of which it is
composed and the tone in which it is enunciated. In order to be efficacious, the
conjuration should be accompanied by chanting, either an incantation or a song. In
order to produce the desired effect the sacramental melody must be chanted without
the variation of a single modulation: one false note, one mistake in the measure, the
introversion of any two of the sounds of which it is composed, and the intended effect
is annulled. This is the reason why all who recite a prayer or formula intended to force
the gods to perform certain acts must be of true voice. The result of their effort,
whether successful or unsuccessful, will depend upon the exactness of their voice. It
was the voice, therefore, which played the most important part in the oblation, in the
prayer of definite request, and in the evocation- in a word, in every instance where
man sought to seize hold of the god. Apart from a true voice the words were merely
The Hierophant was a revealer of holy things. He was a citizen of Athens, a man of
mature age, and held his office for life, devoting himself wholly to the service of the
temple and living a chaste life, to which end it was usual for him to anoint himself
with the juice of hemlock, which, by its extreme coldness, was said to extinguish in a
great measure the natural heat. In the opinion of some writers celibacy was an
indispensable condition of the highest branch of the priesthood, but, according to
inscriptions which have been discovered, some, at any rate, of the hierophants were
married, so that, in all probability, the rule was that during the celebration of the
Mysteries and, probably, for a certain time before and after, it was incumbent on the
hierophant to abstain from all sexual intercourse. Foucart is of opinion that celibacy
was demanded only during the celebration of the Mysteries, although Pausanias states
definitely otherwise. In support of Foucart it may be stated that among the inscriptions
discovered at Eleusis there is one dedicating a statue to a hierophant by his wife. It
was essential that the hierophant should be a man of commandng presence and lead a
simple life. On being raised to the dignity he received a kind of consecration at a
special ceremony, at which only those of his own rank were permitted to be present,
when he was entrusted with certain secrets pertaining to his high office. Prior to this
ceremony he went through a special purifactory rite, immersing himself in the sea, an
act to which the Greeks attributed great virtue. He had to be exemplary in his moral
conduct and was regarded by the people as being peculiarly holy. The qualifications
of a hierophant were so high that the office could not be regarded as hereditary, for it
would have been an exception to find both father and son in possession of the many
various and high qualifications regarded as essential to the holding of the office. The
robe of the hierophant was a long purple garment; his hair, crowned with a wreath of
myrtle, flowed in long locks over his shoulders, and a diadem ornamented his
forehead. At the celebration of the Mysteries he was held to represent the Creator of
the world. He alone was permitted to penetrate into the innermost shrine in the Hall of
the Mysteries the holy of holies, as it were and then only once during the celebration
of the Mysteries, when, at the most solemn moment of the whole mystic celebration,
his form appeared suddenly to be transfigured with light before the rapt gaze of the
initiated. He alone was permitted to reveal to the fully initiated the mystic objects, the
sight of which marked the completion of their admission into the community. He had
the power of refusing admission to those applicants whom he deemed unfit to be
entrusted with the secrets. He was not inactive during the intervals between the
celebration of the Mysteries. It was his duty to superintend the instruction of the
candidates for initiation who, for that purpose, were divided into groups and instructed
by officials known as mystagogues. The personal name of the hierophant was never
mentioned: it was supposed to be unknown, "wafted away into the sea by the mystic
law," and he was known only by the title of the office which he bore. Lucian refers to
this in one passage in Lexiphanes:
The first I met were a torch-bearer, a hierophant, and others of the initiated, haling
Dinias before the judge, and protesting that he had called them by their names, though
he well knew that, from the time of their sanctification, they were nameless, and no
more to be named but by hallowed names.
In the Imperial inscriptions we find the titles substituted for the proper names. The
hierophant was compelled to avoid contact with the dead, in the same manner as the
Cohanim of the Jewish faith, and with certain animals reputed to be unclean. Contact
with any person from whom blood was issuing also caused impurity. He was assisted
by a female hierophant, or hierophantide an attendant upon the goddess Demeter and
her daughter, Persephone. She also was selected from the family of the Eumolpides
and was chosen for life She was permitted to marry and several inscriDtions mention
the names of children of hierophantide s. On her initiation into this high degree she
was brought forward naked to the side of a sacred font, in which her right hand was
placed, the priest declaring her to be true and holy and dedicated to the service of the
temple. The special duty of the female hierophant was to superintend the initiation of
female aspirants, but she was present throughout the ceremony and played some part
in the initiation of the male candidates. An inscription on the tomb of one
hierophantide mentions to her glory that she had set the myrtle crown, the seal of
mystic communion, on the heads of the illustrious initiates, Marcus Aurelius and his
son, Commodus. Another gloried in the fact that she had initiated the emperor
Next in rank to the hierophant and hierophantide came the male and female
Dadouchos, who were taken from the family of the Keryces. They were the
torchbearers and their duty consisted mainly in carrying the torches at the Sacred
Festival. They also wore purple robes, myrtle crowns, and diadems. They were
appointed for life and were permitted to marry. The male Dadouchos, particularly,
was associated with the hierophant in certain solemn and public functions, such as the
opening address to the candidates for initiation and in the public prayers for the
welfare of the state. The office was frequently handed down from father to son. Until
the first century, B. C., the Dadouchos was never addressed by his own personal
name, but always by the title of his office.
The Hierocceryx, or messenger of holy tidings, was the representative of Hermes, or
Mercury, who, as the messenger of the gods, was indispensable as mediator whenever
men wished to approach the Immortals. He also wore a purple-coloured robe and a
myrtle crown. He was chosen for life from the family of the Keryces. He made the
necessary proclamations to the candidates for initiation into the various degrees and,
in particular, enjoined them to preserve silence. It was necessary for him to have
passed through all the various degrees as his duties necessitated his presence
throughout the ceremonial.
The Phaidantes had the custody of the sacred statues and the sacred vessels, which
they had to maintain in good repair. They were selected from one or other of the two
Among the other officials were: the Liknophori, who carried the mystic fan; the
Hydranoi, who purified the candidates for initiation by sprinkling them with holy
water at the commencement of the festival; the Spondophoroi, who proclaimed the
sacred truce, which was to permit of the peaceful celebration of the Mysteries; the
Pyrphoroi, who brought and maintained the fire for the sacrifices; the Hieraules, who
played the flute during the time the sacrifices were heing offered they were the
leaders of the sacred music, who had under their charge the hynmodoi, the hymnetriai;
the neokoroi, who maintained the temples and the altars; the panageis, who formed a
class between the ministers and the initiated. Then there were the "initiates of the
altar," who performed expiatory rites in the name and in the place of all the initiated.
There were also many other minor officials, known by the general name of Melissae,
i.e., bees, perhaps so-called because bees, being makers of honey, were sacred to
Demeter. All these officials had to be of unblemished reputation and wore myrtle
crowns while engaged in the service of the temple.
The officials, whose duty it was to take care that the ritual was punctiliously followed
in every detail, included nine Archons, who were chosen every year to manage the
affairs of Greece. The first of these was always the King, or Archon Basileus, whose
duty at the celebration of the Mysteries it was to offer prayers and sacrifices, to see
that no indecency or irregularity was committed during the Festival and at the
conclusion to pass judgment on all offenders. There were also four Epimeletae, or
curators, elected by the people, one being appointed from the Eumolpides, another
from the Keryces, and the remaining two from the rank and file of the citizens; and
ten Hieropoioi, whose duty it was to offer sacrifices.
The sacred symbols used in the ceremonies were enclosed in a special chamber in the
Telestrion or Hall of Initiation, known as the Anactoron, into which the hierophant
alone had the right to penetrate. During the celebration of the Mysteries they were
carried to Athens veiled and hidden from the gaze of the profane, whence they were
taken back to Eleusis. ft was permitted only to the initiated to look upon these "hiera,"
as they were called. These sacred objects were in the charge of the Eumolpides
Written descriptions, however graphic or eloquent, convey but a faint impression of
the wonderful scenes that were enacted; Aristides says that what was seen rivalled
anything that was heard. For nine centuries that period of time being divided almost
equally between the pre-Christian and Christian eras they were the Palladium of
Greek Paganism. In the latter part of their history, when the restriction, as to
admission began to be relaxed, and in proportion to that relaxation, their essential
religious character disappeared and they became a mere ceremony, their splendour
being their principal attraction, until finally they degenerated into a mere superstition.
Julian strived in vain to infuse new life into the vanishing cult, but it was too late the
Eleusinian Mysteries were dead.
The Festival of the Greater Mysteries, and this was, of course, by far the more
important, began on the 1 5th of the month Boedromion, corresponding roughly with
the month of September, and lasted until the 23rd of the same month. During that time
it was unlawful to arrest any man present, or present any petition except for offenses
committed at the Festival, heavy penalties being inflicted for breaches of this law, the
penalties fixed being a fine of not less than a thousand drachmas, and some assert that
transgressors were even put to death.
The following was the programme of the Festival:
First Day. The first day was known as the "Gathering" or the "Assembly," when all
who had passed through the Lesser Mysteries assembled to assist in the celebration of
the greater Mysteries. On this day the Archon Basileus presided over all the cults of
the city and assembled the people at a place known as the Poikile Stoa. After the
Archon Basileus, with four assistants, had offered up sacrifices and prayers for the
welfare of Greece, the following proclamation was made by the Archon Basileus,
wearing his robe of office:
Come whoever is clean of all pollution and whose soul has not consciousness of sin.
Come, whosoever hath lived a life of righteousness and justice. Come all ye who are
pure of heart and of hand, and whose speech can be understood. Whosoever hath not
clean hands, a pure soul, and an intelligible voice, must not assist at the Mysteries.
The people were then commanded by the hierophant to wash their hands in
consecrated water and the impious were threatened with the punishment set forth in
the law if they were discovered, but especially, and this in any case, with the
implacable anger of the gods. The Hierocceryx then impressed upon all the duty of
observing the most rigid secrecy with respect to all that they might witness and bade
all be silent throughout the ceremonies and not utter even an exclamation. The
candidates for initiation assembled outside the temple, each under the guidance and
direction of a mystagogue, who repeated these instructions to the candidates. Once
within the sacred enclosure all the initiated were subject to a purification by fire
ceremonial. All wore regalia special to the occasion; this is evident from the wording
of inscriptions which have been discovered, but particulars of this regalia are wanting.
We know that extravagant and costly dresses were regarded by Demeter with
disfavour and that it was forbidden to wear such in the temple. Jewelry, gold
ornaments, purple coloured belts and embroideries were also barred, as were robes
and cloths of mixed colours. The hair of women had to fall down loose upon the
shoulders and must not be in plaits or coiled upon the head. No woman was permitted
to use cosmetics.
Second Day. The second day was known as Halade Mystae, or "To the sea, ye
mystae" from the command which greeted all the initiated to go and purify themselves
by washing in the sea, or in the salt water of the two lakes, called Rheiti, on what was
known as "The Sacred Way." A procession was formed in which all joined and made
their way to the sea or the lakes where they bathed and purified themselves. This
general purification was akin to that practised to this day by the Jews at the beginning
of the Jewish year. The day was consecrated to Saturn, into whose province the soul is
said to fall in the course of its descent from the tropic of Cancer. Capella compares
Saturn to a river, voluminous, sluggish, and cold. The planet signifies pure intellect
and Pythagoras symbolically called the sea a tear of Saturn. The bathing was preceded
by a confession and the manner in which the bathing was carried out and the number
of immersions varied with the degree of guilt which each confessed. According to-
Suidas, those who had to purify themselves from murder plunged into salt water on
two separate occasions, immersing themselves seven times on each occaeion On
returning from the bath all were regarded as "new creatures," the bath being regarded
as a laver of regeneration, and the initiated were clothed in a plain fawn skin or a
sheep skin. The purification, however, was not regarded as complete until the
following day when there was added the sprinkling of the blood of a pig sacrificed.
Eaeh had carried to the river or lake a little pig which was also purified by bathing and
on the next day this pig was sacrificed. On the Eleusinian coinage, the pig, standing
on a torch placed horizontally, appears as the sign and symbol of the Mysteries. On
this day also some of the initiated submitted to a special purification near the altar of
Zeus Mellichios on the Sacred Way. For each person whom it was desired to purify,
an ox was sacrificed to Zeus Mellichios, the infernal Zeus, and the skin of the animal
was laid on the ground by the Dadouchos, and the one who was the object of the
lustration remained there squatting on the left foot.
Third Day. On the third day pleasures of every description, even the most innocent,
were strictly forbidden, and every one fasted till nightfall, when they partook of seed
cakes, parched corn, salt, pomegranates, and sacred wine mixed with milk and honey.
The Archon Basileus, assisted again by the four Epimeletae, celebrated in the
presence of representatives from the allied cities, the great sacrifice of the Soteria for
the well-being of the State, the Athenian citizens, and their wives and children. This
ceremony took place in the Eleusinion at the foot of the Acropolis. The day was
known as the Day of Mourning and was supposed to commemorate Demeter's grief at
the loss of Persephone. The sacrifices offered consisted chiefly of a mullet and of
barley out of Rharium, a field of Eleusis. The oblations were accounted so sacred that
the priests themselves were not permitted, as was usual in other offerings, to partake
of them. At the conclusion of the general ceremony each one individually sacrificed
the little pig purified in the sea the night before.
Fourth Day. The principal event of the fourth day was a solemn procession when the
holy basket of Ceres (Demeter) was carried in a consecrated cart, the crowds of
people shouting as it went along, "Hail, Ceres!" The rear end of the procession was
composed of women carrying baskets containing sesamin, carded wool, grains of salt,
serpents, pomegranates reeds, ivy boughs, and cakes known as poppies.
Fifth Day. The fifth day was known as the Day of Torches from the fact that at
nightfall all the initiated walked in pairs round the temple of Demeter at Eleusis, the
Dadouchos himself leading the procession. The torches were waved about and
changed from hand to hand to represent the wanderings of the goddess in search of
her daughter when she was conducted by the light of a torch kindled in the flames of
Sixth Day. lacchos was the name given to the sixth day of the Festival. The "fair
young god" lacchos, or Dionysos, or Sacchus, was the son of Jupiter and Ceres, and
accompanied the goddess in her search for Persephone. He also carried a torch, hence
his statue has always a torch in the hand. This statue, together with other sacred
objects, were taken from the lacchion, the sanctuary of lacchos in Athens, mounted on
a heavy rustic four- wheeled chariot drawn by bulls, and, accompanied by the
lacchogogue and other magistrates nominated for the occasion, conveyed from the
Caramicus to Eleusis by the Sacred Way in solemn procession. The statue, as well as
the people accompanying it, was crowned with myrtle, the people dancing all the way
along the route, beating brass kettles and playing instruments of various kinds and
singing sacred songs. Halts were made during the procession at various shrines,
particularly at a fig-tree which was regarded as sacred, also upon a bridge built over
the river Cephissus where the by- standers made themselves merry at the expense of
the pilgrims. At each of the shrines sacrifices and libations were offered, hymns sung,
and sacred dances performed. Having passed the bridge the people entered Eleusis by
what was known as the Mystical Entrance. Midnight had set in before Eleusis was
reached so that a great part of the journey had to be accomplished by the light of the
torches carried by each of the pilgrims and the nocturnal journey was spoken of as the
"night of torches" by many ancient authors. The pitch and resin of which the torches
were composed were substances supposed to have the virtue of warding off evil
spirits. The barren mountains of the Pass of Daphni and the surface of the sea
resounded with the chant: "Iacchos, O Iacchos!" At one of the halts, the Croconians,
descendants of the hero Crocon, who had formerly reigned over the Thriasian Plain,
fastened a saffron band on the right arm and left foot of each one in the procession.
Iacchos was always regarded as a child of Demeter, inasmuch as the vine grows out of
the earth. Various symbols were carried by the people, who numbered sometimes as
many as thirty and forty thousand. These symbols consisted of winnowing fans the
"mystic fan of Iacchos"; plaited reeds and baskets, both relating to the worship of the
goddess and her son. The distance covered by the procession was 22 kilometres, but
Lyourgus ordered that if any woman should ride in a chariot to Eleusis she should be
mulcted in a fine of 8,000 drachmas. This was to prevent the richer women from
distinguishing themselves from their poorer sisters. Strange to relate, the wife of
Lyourgus was the first to break thig law and Lyourgus himself had to pay the fine
which he had ordained. He not only paid the penalty but gave a talent to the informer.
Immediately upon the deposit of the sacred objects in the Eleusinion at the foot of the
Acropolis, one of the Eleusinion priests solemnly announced their arrival to the
priestess of the tutelary goddess of Athens Pallas Athene. Plutarch, in commenting
upon lucky and unlucky days, says that he is aware that unlucky things happen
sometimes on lucky days, for the Athenians had to receive a Macedonian garrison
"even on the 20th of Boedromion, the day on which they lead forth the mystic
Seventh Day. On the seventh day the statue was carried back to Athens. The return
journey was also a solemn procession and attended with numerous ceremonies. Halts
were again made at several places, like the "stations" of Roman Catholic pilgrimage,
when the inhabitants also fell into line with the procession. For those who remained
behind at Eleusis the time was devoted to sports, the victors in which were rewarded
with a measure of barley, it being a tradition that that grain was first sown in Eleusis.
It was also regarded as a day of preparation for the initiation ceremony of the
following night. The return journey was conducted with the same splendour as the
outward journey. It comprised comic incidents, the same as on the previous day.
Those who awaited the procession at the bridge over the Athenian river Cephisson
exchanged all kinds of chaff and buffoonery with those who were in the procession,
indulging in what was termed "bridge fooling." These jests, it is said, were to recall
the tactful measure employed by a maid-servant named Iambe, to rouse Demeter from
her prolonged mourning. During the Peliponnesian war the Athenians were unable to
obtain an armistice from the Lacedaemonians who held Decelea and it became
necessary to send the statue of Iacchos and the processionists to Eleusis by sea.
Plutarch says: "Under these conditions it was necessary to omit the sacrifices usually
offered all along the road during the passing of Iacchos."
Eighth Day. The eighth day was called Epidaurion because it happened once that
Aesculapius, coming from Epidaurius to Athens, desired to be initiated and had the
Lesser Mysteries repeated for that puipose. It therefore became customary to celebrate
the Lesser Mysteries a second time upon this day and to admit to initiation any such
approved candidates who had not already enjoyed the privilege. There was also
another reason for the repetition of the initiatory rites then. The eighth day was
regarded as symbolical of the soul falling into the lunar orbi and the repeated
initiation, the second celebration of that sacred rite, was symbolical of the soul
bidding adieu to everything of a celestial nature, sinking into a perfect oblivion of her
divine origin and pristine felicity, and rushing profoundly into the region of
dissimilitude, ignorance, and error. The day opened with a solemn sacrifice offered to
Demeter and Persephone, which took place within the peribolus. The utmost precision
had to be observed in offering this sacrifice as regarding the age, colour, and sex of
the victim; the chants, perfumes, and libations. The acceptance or rejection of a
sacrifice was indicated by the movements of the animal as it approached the altar, the
vivacity of the flame, the direction of the smoke, etc. If these signs were not
favourable in the case of the first victim offered other animals must be slain until one
presented itself in which all the signs were favourable. The flesh of the animal offered
was not allowed to be taken outside the sacred precincts but had to be consumed
within the building.
The following is said to have been an Invocation used during the celebration of the
Daughter of Jove, Persephone divine, Come, blessed queen, and to these rites incline;
Only-begotten, Pluto's honoured wife, O venerable goddess, source of life: 'Tis thine
in earth's profundities to dwell, Fast by the wide and dismal gates of hell. Jove's holy
offspring, of a beauteous mien, Avenging Goddess, subterranean queen. The Furies'
source, fair-hair'd, whose frame proceeds From Jove's ineffable and secret seeds.
Mother of Bacchus, sonorous, divine, And many form'd, the parent of the vine.
Associate of the Seasons, essence bright, All-ruling virgin, bearing heavnly light.
With fruits abounding, of a bounteous mind, Hom'd, and alone desir'd by those of
mortal kind. O vernal queen, whom grassy plains delight, Sweet to the smell, and
pleasing to the sight: Whose holy forms in budding fruits we view, Earth's vig'rous
offspring of a various hue: Espous'd in autumn, life and death alone To wretched
mortals from thy pow'r is known: For thine the task, according to thy will, Life to
produce, and all that lives to kill. Hear, blessed Goddess, send a rich increase Of
various fruits from earth, with lovely Peace; Send Health with gentle hand, and crown
my life With blest abundance, free from noisy strife; Last in extreme old age the prey
of death, Dismiss me willing to the realms beneath, To thy fair palace and the
blissful plains Where happy spirits dwell, and Pluto reigns.
Ninth Day. The ninth day was known as the Day of Earthen Vessels because it was
the custom on that day to fill two jugs with wine, one was placed towards the east and
the other towards the west, and after the repetition of certain mystical formulae both
were overthrown, the wine being spilt upon the ground as a libation. The first of these
formulae was directed towards the sky as a prayer for rain and the second to the earth
as a prayer for fertility.
On the tenth day the majority of the people returned to their homes, with the exception
of every third and fifth year, when they remained behind for the Mystery Plays and
Sports which lasted from two to three days.
The ancient sanctuary in which the Mysteries were celebrated was burnt by the
Persians in B. C. 480 or 479, and a new sanctuary was built, or, at least, begun under
the administration of Pericles. Plutarch says that Coroebus began the Temple of
Initiation at Eleusis, but only lived to finish the lower rank of columns with their
architraves. Metagenes, of the ward of Xypete, added the rest of the entablature and
the upper row of columns, and Xenocles of Cholargus built the dome on the top. The
long wall, the building of which Socrates says he heard Pericles propose to the people,
was undertaken by Callicrates. Cratinus satirised the work as proceeding very slowly:
Stone upon stone the orator has pil'd With swelling words, but words will build no
In the fourth century of the Christian era the temple at Eleusis was destroyed by the
Goths at the instigation of the monks who followed the hosts of Alaric.
The revenues from the celebrations must have been considerable. At both the Lesser
Mysteries and the Greater Mysteries a charge of one obole a day was demanded from
each one attending, which was given to the hierophant. The Hierocceryx received a
half obole a day, and other assistants a similar sum.
(To be continued)
SIGNIFICANCE OF MASONIC COLORS
BY BRO. HAROLD A. KINGSBURY, MASSACHUSETTS
WHY is my Master Mason's Lodge said to have a particular color of transcending
importance?" "Why is that particular color said to be blue?"
The Mason who pauses in his Masonic journey to ask himself these questions, or
equivalent ones, has thereby set himself in the may of investigating yet another phase
of Masonic symbolism. For, in the attempt to answer his two queries, the
selfquestioner's first thought is that the lodge is not possessed, in a physical sense, of a
particular and transcendingly important color, blue or otherwise; and, when he
reminds himself that there are rational explanations for practically everything in
Masonry and that most of those explanations are founded in symbolism, his second
thought is that a color, a particular color, is assigned to his lodge for symbolistic
reasons, and that that color has a symbolic meaning. Thus he is brought to a
consideration of the symbolism of colors and, more particularly, to a consideration of
the symbolism of blue.
If, now, he investigates the matter very briefly, running over almost superficially the
general subject of the symbolism of colors and considering somewhat more deeply the
symbolism of blue, the inquiring Mason will, it is probable, arrive at substantially the
The assigning of symbolic meanings to colors is probably as old as symbolism itself.
To cite but one set of examples from the practices of an ancient people: The
Egyptians, those ancient masters of symbolism to whom the investigator of the
symbols used in Masonry first looks for explanations of those symbols, made use of
colors in their hieroglyphics to convey certain definite ideas, each color being
expressive of certain conceptions. Hieroglyphs of the spirits of the dead were
characterized by white. Men were marked out by having their flesh red, while the
flesh of the women was yellow. Sapphire was the color of the Egyptian god Amon.
Green was the color used for the flesh of the god Ptah, founder of the world, the active
creative spirit and the divine intelligence, and was also the color used for the flesh of
Lunus, the moon. Russet- brown was the color given to the flesh of Thoueri, the
concubine of Typhon. And black was the color of Anubis, the god of the dead and of
The colors symbolically significant in Masonry are purple, red, white, black, green,
yellow, violet and blue. Each color has for its puipose the teaching to the Mason of a
valuable moral lesson or the calling of his attention to some historical fact of interest
Masonically, certain of the colors serving both purposes at one and the same time.
Purple, being a mixture of blue and red, is, to the Mason, the symbol of fraternal
union because it is composed of the color adopted for the Master Mason's Lodge and
that adopted for the Chapter of Royal Arch Companions, these two Masonic bodies
being indissolubly connected since the Royal Arch is an essential and component part
of the present-day mutilated Master Mason's degree. For this reason purple is adopted
as the proper color for the Mark, the Past, and the Most Excellent Master degrees, to
symbolize the fact that those degrees connect the Master Mason's degree with the
Red is the color of fire, and fire was to the Egyptians the symbol of the regeneration
and the purification of souls. Hence, in the Masonic system, red is the symbol of
regeneration. Thus red is the color assigned to the Royal Arch Degree since that
degree teaches the regeneration of life.
White is the symbol of purity, the reasons for adopting this conception being obvious.
Therefore, in Masonry it is, properly, the color adopted for certain of the garments of
investiture of the candidate.
Black from the remotest antiquity has been the symbol of grief and such is its
significance to the Mason.
Green, being the unchanging color of the various evergreen trees, shrubs, and so forth,
is, in the symbolistic system of Masonry, the color symbolic of the unchanging
immortality of all that is divine and true. This conception Masonry has received from
the ancients, more particularly the Egyptians. For example, with the Egyptians, as
noted above, Ptah was pictured as having green flesh. Also, the goddess Pascht, the
divine preserver, and Thoth, the instructor of men in the sacred doctrines of truth,
were both painted with green flesh. So the Mason, adhering once more, as he so often
does, to the conceptions of the Egyptians, chooses for his symbol of the immortality
of the soul which he knows to be divine and true an object, the acacia, whose color is
Yellow was to the ancients the symbol of light. Though unemphasized and seemingly
almost unrecognised in Masonry yellow is, nevertheless, a true Masonic symbolic
color since it symbolizes to the Mason that Great Thing to the finding of which his
Masonic Search is devoted and to the source of which his Masonic pathway leads the
Light of Truth.
Violet is the symbol of mourning, the Mason here adopting yet another of the
conceptions of an ancient people, this time the Chinese.
Blue is the supreme color of Masonry. First, because it is that color which, among all
those used in Masonry, is the unquestioned Masonic possession of every Mason. The
Royal Arch Mason may attempt to appropriate to himself the red, the Perfect Master
may feel himself the exclusive proprietor of the green and the black, and so on, but
blue is acknowledged by every Mason to belong to us all and no Mason, whatever his
degree, questions the Master Mason's ownership of blue. Second, blue is the supreme
color because it has, coupled with its universality, a place in symbolism which, both
as regards importance of lessons taught and as regards legitimacy as a symbol, is
second to that of no Masonic color.
The use of blue in religious ceremonials, and as a symbol, comes to Masonry from
many of the different peoples of antiquity. Among the Hebrews various articles of the
high priest's clothing were blue, one of the veils of the tabernacle was blue. In his
initiation into the Druidical Mysteries the candidate was invested with a robe one of
whose colors was blue. The Babylonians clothed their idols in blue. The Hindoo god
Vishnu was represented as blue. And among the medieval Christians blue was
considered a peculiarly important color.
Blue was the symbol of perfection to the Hebrews, to the Druids the symbol of Truth,
to the Chinese the symbol of Deity, and to the medieval Christians it was the symbol
of immortality. So, for the Mason, the color of his Master Mason's lodge is the symbol
of perfection, truth, immortality and Deity.
Finally and preeminently, and following the teachings and conceptions of the
Egyptians aald the Hindoos, blue is the symbol of that which the Craftsman must,
since he is a Mason, always revere and of that which his Master Mason's lodge must,
when its work and its teachings are properly understood and accepted, cause him to
Progressively revere the more Divine Wisdom.
THE PORT OF MISSING MEN
Though the war with its awful holocaust of human life is ended, and the world
hopefully resumes the arts of peace, the casualty lists with the long roster of the missing
are still breaking the hearts of thousands, and mothers, wives, sisters and sweethearts,
swayed alternately by hope and despair, who are eagerly seeking information about the
soldiers so close to their hearts.
To ease their sufferings, the American Red Cross has undertaken a search for the
missing. Its searchlight, thrown on overseas battle fields, base hospitals, and
embarkation camps, has probed the mystery of many a boy's silence and brought news
of his whereabouts or death to the anxious family at home.
"Please send me news of my boy," begged the mother of one private. "I only know he
has been missing since July 15. It is worse to be in doubt than to know he is killed." The
young man's name and his regiment were immediately filed, and sent abroad to be
added to the searcher's list that is published monthly by the Red Cross.
Searchers travel through the base and military hospitals, through rest camps and
embarkation camps, carrying with them their book of missing men. Everywhere they go
they get into communication with patients and other soldiers stationed at the same
command as the missing men. In a recent case, a young lieutenant was found in
Debarkation Hospital No. 3 who knew one of the missing men and had seen him die.
His story as written into the record was that Private Sand, the missing soldier, had been
killed on July 1 5th at the battle of the Mame, while saving the lieutenant's life. The
news was immediately wired the bereaved mother. She is now waiting to meet the
lieutenant for whom her son went to his death and to leam from him the details of the
tragedy. And the lieutenant will make this trip to see the boy's mother even before he
goes home to his own family.
A REAL QUEEN
In a great marble mansion on Avenue B,
Where Want never came, nor gaunt Poverty,
Stood a woman bejeweled, decked in a rich gown
Of satins and silks; - on her head a grand crown.
The masque-ball was over; - she had posed as a queen.
Her crown was of gold, and bright was its sheen.
Worn out with the waltz, the tango and glide.
She fell on the couch that stood at her side.
The bauble she prized she had carefully laid
On a cushion of velvet, exquisitely made.
A deep sleep came o'er her, when out of the gloom
A majestical Presence stood in her room.
A seamless robe garbed Him, and in His sweet face
Nor rancor nor malice e'er found resting place.
From each hand and each foot there gleamed a red scar,
Standing out in the darkness as though 'twere a star.
He stood by her side, and, glancing around,
Stretched forth His scarred hand and lifted the crown.
"I say to thee, woman, how gained thou the right
Such jewels to wear, or this diadem bright?
Dost know that only to those who have striven
The poor and the needy to lift up to Heaven, -
To feed and to clothe them, and love them for Me,
Is given the crown of My glory to see ?
Think not that thy selfish indifference may
Pass unnoticed by in Judgment - that Day
When I make up My jewels and gather from far
All who are found worthy when judged at My bar.
If thou would'st have treasure in Heaven, I trow,
True service to others you clearly must show
Has been freely giv'n in My Name, and for Me,
In that Day when, as King, thy record I see.
For I was a stranger, hungry and cold;
Ye came not to Me, nor gave of thy gold
My thirst to assuage, My hunger to stay,
Nor spoke the kind word thou could'st easily say.
The poor ye have with you; - their burdens are Mine;
'The least of these' need thee, - for mother-love pine.
This crown and these jewels will crumble to dust
If worn by the selfish, cold-hearted, unjust."
The Presence then vanished. The lesson well-learned,
A new motive possessed her; her footsteps she turned
Toward tenement houses and slums of the city,
Where poverty drew from her heart all its pity;
And finding an urchin without home or mother,
She kissed its soiled cheek, then gave it another;
And on her way home, with some one to love her,
A childish voice prattled, "Are you my new Muvver?"
That night while she slept, in her room there appeared
The same Presence majestic, but nothing she feared.
His voice broke the stillness; - 'twas the voice of her Lord, -
And in reverent silence she heard His sweet word:
"Daughter, thy deed hath brought Heaven to thee;
Who receiveth such child in My Name receives Me."
- Frank Drew Hall, 33d Hon.
Fargo, N. D., Oct. 20, 1915.
OASIS IN THE MUD
One American soldier-humorist has remarked that Brest, the French city from which
the boys start for home, is about four miles square and four miles deep. Since the rains
have made that place a quagmire of mud, the efforts of the Red Cross have been
devoted largely to supplying a few dry spots, and the little rest huts with something to
read and a place to smoke in dry comfort, are greatly appreciated.
— o —
A CATHOLIC TREATISE ON MASONRY
FROM THE CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPAEDIA
We have been asked many times "What are the objections of the Roman Catholic
Church to Freemasonry?" and "Why can not a Catholic become a Freemason?"
Believing that our readers would be interested in the article on "Masonry" which
appears in "The Catholic Encyclopaedia," we are herewith reprinting it by permission
of the publishers of that work.
PART I NAME AND DEFINITION
LEAVING aside various fanciful derivations we may trace the word mason to the
French macon (Latin maito or machio), "a builder of walls" or "a stone-cutter" (cf.
German Steinmetz, from metzen, "to cut"; and Dutch vrijmetselaar). The compound
term Freemason occurs first in 1375 according to a recently found writing, even prior
to 1155 (The Freemason's Chronicle, 1908, 1, 283, frequently referred to in this article
as Chr.) and, contrary to Gould (Concise Hist., 109, 122), means primarily a mason of
superior skill, though later it also designated one who enjoyed the freedom, or the
privilege, of a trade guild (Gould, "Hist.", I, 278, 279, 410; II, 153 sqq.). In the former
sense it is commonly derived from freestone-mason, a mason hewing or building in
free (ornamental) stone in opposition to a rough (stone) mason (A. Q. C., VIII, 35,
155 sq.; Boos, 104 sqq.). This derivation, though harmonizing with the meaning of the
term, seemed unsatisfactory to some scholars. Hence Speth proposed to interpret the
word freemasons as referring to those masons claiming exemption from the control of
the local guilds of the towns, where they temporarily settled (A. Q. C., X, 10-30; IX,
167). In accordance with this suggestion the "New English Dictionary of the
Philological Society" (Oxford, 1898) favours the interpretation of freemasons as
skilled artisans, emancipated according to the medieval practice from the restrictions
and control of local guilds in order that they might be able to travel and render
services, wherever any great building (cathedral, etc.) was in process of construction.
These freemasons formed a universal craft for themselves, with a system of secret
signs and passwords by which a craftsman, who had been admitted on giving evidence
of competent skill, could be recognized. On the decline of Gothic architecture this
craft coalesced with the mason guilds (A. Q. C., XI, 166-168).
Quite recently W. Begemann (Vorgeschichte, I, 1909, 42-58) combats the opinion of
Speth (A. Q. C., X, 20-22) as purely hypothetical, stating that the name freemason
originally designated particularly skilled freestone-masons, needed at the time of the
most magnificent evolution of Gothic architecture, and nothing else. In English law
the word freemason is first mentioned in 1495, while frank-mason occurs already in
an Act of 1444-1445 (Gould, "Concise History," 166 sq.). Later, freemason and
mason were used as convertible terms. The modern signification of Free in which,
since about 1750, the word has been and exclusively understood, dates only from the
constitution of the Grand Lodge of England, 1717. In this acceptation Freemasonry,
according to the official English, Scottish, American, etc., craft rituals, is most
generally defined: "A peculiar (some say 'particular' or 'beautiful') system of morality
veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols." Mackey (Symbolism of Freemasonry,
1869, 303) declares the best definition of Freemasonry to be: "A science which is
engaged in the search after the divine truth." The German encyclopedia of
Freemasonry, "Handbuch" (1900, 1, 320 sq.), defines Freemasonry as "the activity of
closely united men who, employing symbolical forms borrowed principally from the
mason's trade and from architecture, work for the welfare of mankind, striving
morally to ennoble themselves and others and thereby to bring about a universal
league of mankind (Menschleitsbund), which they aspire to exhibit even now on a
small scale." The three editions which this "Handbuch" (Universal Manual of
Freemasonry) has had since 1 822 are most valuable, the work having been declared
by English-speaking Masonic critics "by far the best Masonic Encyclopedia ever
published." ("Transactions of the Lodge Ars Quatuor Coronatorum," XI [London,
ORIGIN AND EARLY HISTORY
Before entering upon this and the following divisions of our subject it is necessary to
premise that the very nature of Freemasonry as a secret society makes it difficult to be
sure even of its reputed documents and authorities, and therefore we have consulted
only those which are acknowledged and recommended by responsible members of the
craft, as stated in the bibliography appended to this article. "It is the opprobrium of
Freemasonry," says Mackey (Encyclopedia, 296), "that its history has never yet been
written in a spirit of critical truth; that credulity . . . has been the foundation on which
all Masonic historical investigations have been built, . . . that the missing links of a
chain of evidence have been frequently supplied by gratuitous invention and that
statements of vast importance have been carelessly sustained by the testimony of
documents whose authenticity has not been proved." "The historical portion of old
records," he adds, "as written by Anderson, Preston, Smith, Calcott and other writers
of that generation, was little more than a collection of fables, so absurd as to excite the
smile of every reader" (Chr., 1890, II, 145). The germs of nearly all these fantastic
theories are contained in Anderson's "The Constitutions of Free Masons" (1723, 1738)
which makes Freemasonry coextensive with geometry and the arts based on it:
insinuates that God, the Great Architect, founded Freemasonry, and that it had for
patrons, Adam, the Patriarchs, the kings and philosophers of old. Even Jesus Christ is
included in the list as Grand Master of the Christian Church. Masonry is credited with
the building of Noah's Ark, the Tower of Babel, the Pyramids, and Solomon's Temple.
Subsequent authors find the origin of Masonry in the Egyptian, Dionysiac, Eleusinian,
Mithraic, and Druidic mysteries; in sects and schools such as the Pythagoreans,
Essenes, Culdees, Zoroastrians, and Gnostics; in the Evangelical societies that
preceded the Reformation; in the orders of knighthood (Johannites, Templars); among
the alchemists, Rosicrucians, and Cabbalists; in Chinese and Arabic secret societies. It
is claimed also that Pythagoras founded the Druidic institution and hence that
Masonry probably existed in England 500 years before the Christian Era. Some
authors, considering geological finds as Masonic emblems, trace Masonry to the
Miocene (?) Period (Donnelly, "Atlantis the Ante-diluvian World"); while others
pretend that Masonic science "existed before the creation of this globe, diffused
amidst the numerous systems with which the grand empyreum of universal space is
furnished" (Oliver, I, 20, sq.).
It is not then difficult to understand that the attempt to prove the antiquity of
Freemasonry with evidence supplied by such monuments of the past as the Pyramids
and the Obelisk (removed to New York in 1879) should have resulted in an extensive
literature concerning these objects (Chr., 1880, 1, 148; II, 139; 1884, II, 130; Gruber,
5, 122-128). Though many intelligent Masons regard these claims as baseless, the
majority of the craft (see, for instance, "The Voice" of Chicago, Chr., 1885, 1, 226)
still accept the statement contained in the "Charge" after initiation: "Ancient no no
doubt it is, having subsisted from time immemorial. In every age monarchs (American
rituals: "the greatest and best men of all ages") have been promoters of the art, have
not thought it derogatory to their dignity to exchange the sceptre for the trowel, have
participated in our mysteries and joined in our assemblies" (English ritual, 1908,
almost identical with other English, Irish, Scottish, and American rituals). It is true
that in earlier times gentlemen who were neither operative masons nor architects, the
so-called geomatic Masons (see Gould, "Hist.", I, 408, 473, etc.) joined with the
operative, or domatic, Masons in their lodges, observed ceremonies of admission, and
had their signs of recognition. But this Masonry is by no means the "speculative"
Masonry of modem times, i. e., a systematic method of teaching morality by means of
such symbols according to the principles of modem Freemasonry after 1723. As the
best German authorities admit ("Handbuch," 3rd ed., I, 321; Begemann,
"Vorgeschicte, etc.," 1909, 1, 1 sqq.), speculative Masonry began with the foundation
of the Grand Lodge of England, 24 June, 1717, and its essential organization was
completed in 1722 by the adoption of the new "Book of Constitutions" and of the
three degrees: apprentice, fellow, master. All the ablest and most conscientious
investigations by competent Masonic historians show that in 1717 the old lodges had
almost ceased to exist. The new lodges began as convivial societies, and their
characteristic Masonic spirit developed but slowly. This spirit, finally, as exhibited in
the new constitutions was in contradiction to that which animated the earlier Masons.
These facts prove that modem Masonry is not, as Gould (History, II, 2, 121), Hughan
(A. Q. C., X, 128) and Mackey (Encyclopedia, 296 sq.) contend, a revival of the older
system, but rather that it is a new order of no greater antiquity than the first quarter of
the eighteenth century.
FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES AND SPIRIT
There have been many controversies among Masons as to the essential points of
Masonry. English speaking Masons style them "landmarks," a term taken from Deut.,
xix, 14, and signifying "the boundaries of Masonic freedom," or the unalterable limits
within which all Masons have to confine themselves. Mackey (3, 17-39) specifies no
less than twenty-five landmarks. The same number is adopted by Whitehead (Chr.,
1878, 1, 187, 194 sqq.) "as the pith of the researches of the ablest Masonic writers."
The principal of them are: the method of recognition by secret signs, words, grips,
steps, etc.; the three degrees including the Royal Arch; the Hiram legend of the third
degree; the proper "tiling" of the lodge against "raining" and "snowing," i. e., against
male and female "cowans," or eavesdroppers, i. e., profane intmders; the right of
every regular Mason to visit every regular lodge in the world; a belief in the existence
of God and in future life; the Volume of the Sacred Law; equality of Masons in the
lodge; secrecy; symbolical method of teaching; inviolability of landmarks (Mackey,
"Jurisprudence," 17-39; Chr., 1878, 1, 194 sqq.; 1888, 1, 1 1). In truth there is no
authority in Freemasonry to constitute such "unchangeable" landmarks or fundamental
laws. Strictly judicially, even the "Old Charges," which, according to "Anderson's
Constitutions," contain the unchangeable laws, have a legal obligatory character only
as far as they are inserted in the "Book of Constitution" of each Grand Lodge (Fischer,
I, 14 sq.; Groddeck, 1 sqq., 91 sqq.; "Handbuch," 3rd ed., II, 154). But practically
there exist certain characteristics which are universally considered as essential. Such
are the fundamental principles described in the first and sixth articles of the "Old
Charges" concerning religion, in the texts of the first two English editions (1723 and
1738) of Anderson's "Constitutions." These texts, though differing slightly, are
identical as to their essential tenor. That of 1723, as the original text, restored by the
Grand Lodge of England in the editions of the "Constitutions," 1756-1813, and
inserted later in the "Books of Constitutions" of nearly all the other Grand Lodges, is
the most authoritative; but the text of 1738 which was adopted and used for a long
time by many Grand Lodges, is also of great importance in itself and as a further
illustration of the text of 1723.
In the latter, the first article of the "Old Charges" containing the fundamental law and
the essence of modem Freemasonry mns (the text is given exactly as printed in the
original, 1723): I. Concerning God and Religion. A Mason is obliged by his Tenure,
to obey the moral law; and if he rightly understands the Art, he will never be a stupid
Atheist (Gothic letters) nor an irreligious Libertine (Gothic letters). But though in
ancient times Masons were charged in every country to be of the religion of that
country or nation, whatever it was, yet 'tis now thought more expedient only to oblige
them to that religion in which all men agree, leaving their particular Opinions to
themselves: that is, to be good men and true or Men of Honour and Honesty, by
whatever Denominations or Persuasions they may be distinguished; whereby Masonry
becomes the Centre of Union and the Means of conciliating tme Friendship among
Persons that must have remained at a peipetual Distance."
Under Article VI, 2 (Masons' behaviour after the Lodge is closed and the Brethren not
gone) is added: "In order to preserve peace and harmony no private piques or quarrels
must be brought within the door of the Lodge, far less any quarrels about Religion or
Nations or State Policy, we being only, as Masons, of the Catholick Religion above
mentioned, we are also of all Nations, Tongues, Kindreds and Languages and are
resolved against all Politicks (printed in the original in Gothic letters) as what never
yet conduced to the welfare of the Lodge nor ever will. This charge has been says
strictly enjoin'd and observ'd; but especially ever since the Reformation in Britain or
the dissent and seccession of these Nations from the communion of Rome.
In the text of 1738 the same articles mn (variations from the ed. of 1723 are given in
bold-face type): 1. Concerning God and Religion. A Mason is obliged by his Tenure
to observe the moral law as tme Noahida (sons of Noah, the first name of
Freemasons) and if he rightly understands the craft, he will never be a stupid atheist or
an irreligious libertine nor act against conscience. In ancient times the Christian
masons were charged to comply with the Christian usages of each country where they
travelled or worked; but Masonry being found in all nations, even of diverse religions,
they are now generally charged to adhere to that religion, in which all men agree,
(leaving each Brother his own particular opinion), that is, to be good men and tme,
men of honour and honesty, by whatever names, religions or persuasions they may be
distinguished; for they all agree in the three great articles of Noah, enough to preserve
the cement of the lodge. Thus Masonry is the centre of their union and the happy
means of conciliating tme friendship among persons who otherwise must have
remained at a peipetual distance. VI. 1. Behaviour in the Lodge before closing: . . . No
priate piques nor quarrels about nations, families, religions or politics must by any
means or under any colour or pretence whatsoever be brought within the doors of the
lodge; for as Masons we are of the most ancient catholic religion, above mentioned
and of all nations upon the square, level and plumb; and like our predecessors in all
ages, we are resolved against political disputes, as contrary to the peace and welfare of
In order to appreciate rightly these texts characterizing modern "speculative"
Freemasonry it is necessary to compare them with the corresponding injunction of the
"Gothic" (Christian) Constitutions regulating the old lodges of "operative" Masonry
till and after 1747. These injunctions are uniformly summed up in the simple words:
"The first charge is this that you be true to God and Holy Church and use no error or
heresy" (Grand Lodge Ms. No. 1, Gould, "Concise History," 236; Thorp, Ms. 1629, A.
Q. C., XI, 210; Rawlinson Ms. 1729-39 A. Q. C., XI, 22; Hughan, "Old Charges").
The radical contrast between the two types is obvious. While a Mason according to
the old Constitution was above all obliged to be true to God and Church, avoiding
heresies, his "religious" duties, according to the new type are essentially reduced to
the observation of the "moral law" practically summed up in the rules of "honour and
honesty" as to which "all men agree." This "universal religion of Humanity" which
gradually removes the accidental divisions of mankind due to particular opinions "or
religious," national, and social "prejudices," is to be the bond of union among men in
the Masonic society, conceived as the model of human association in general.
"Humanity" is the term used to designate the essential principle of Masonry
(Groddeck; "Handbuch," 3rd ed., I, 466 sqq.). It occurs in a Masonic address of 1747
(Oliver, "Remains," I, 96; 332). Other watchwords are "tolerance," "unsectarian,"
"cosmopolitan." The Christian character of the society under the operative regime of
former centuries, says Hughan (Chr., 1876, 1, 113), "was exchanged for the
unsectarian regulations which were to include under its wing the votaries of all sects,
without respect to their differences of colour or clime, provided the simple conditions
were observed of morality, mature age and an approved ballot" (see also Chr., 1878, 1,
180; 1884, II, 38; etc., Gould, "Cone. Hist.," 289 sq.). In Continental Masonry the
same notions are expressed by the words "neutrality," "laicite,"
"Confessionslosigkeit," etc. In the text of 1738 particular stress is laid on "freedom of
conscience" and the universal, non-Christian character of Masonry is emphasized. The
Mason is called a "true Noahida," i. e. an adherent of the pre- Christian and pre-
Mosaic system of undivided mankind. The "3 articles of Noah" are most probably "the
duties towards God, the neighbour and himself' inculcated from older times in the
"Charge to a newly made Brother." They might also refer to "brotherly love, relief and
truth," generally with "religion" styled the "great cement" of the fraternity and called
by Mackey (Lexicon, 42) "the motto of our order and the characteristic of our
Of the ancient Masons it is no longer said that they were obliged to "be of the
religion" but only "to comply with the Christian usages of each Country." The
designation of the said "unsectarian" religion as the "ancient catholick" betrays the
attempt to oppose this religion of "Humanity" to the Roman Catholic as the only true,
genuine, and originally Catholic. The unsectarian character of Masonry is also implied
in the era chosen on the title page: "In the year of Masonry 5723" and in the
"History." As to the "History" Anderson himself remarks in the preface (1738): "Only
an expert Brother, by the true light, can readily find many useful hints in almost every
page of this book which Cowans and others not initiated (also among Masons) cannot
discern." Hence, concludes Krause (Kunsturkunden, 1810, 1, 525), Anderson's
"History" is allegorically written in "cipher language." Apart, then, from "mere
childish allusions to the minor secrets," the general tendency of this "History" is to
exhibit the "unsectarianism" of Masonry. Two points deserve special mention: the
utterances on the "Augustan" and the "Gothic" style of architecture and the
identification of Masonry with geometry. The "Augustan" which is praised above all
other styles alludes to "Humanism," while the "Gothic" which is charged with
ignorance and narrow-mindedness, refers to Christian and particularly Roman
Catholic orthodoxy. The identification of Masonry with geometry brings out the
naturalistic character of the former. Like the Royal Society, of which a large and most
influential proportion of the first Freemasons were members (Begemann,
"Vorgeschichte," II, 1910, 127 sq., 137 sq.), Masonry professes the empiric or
"positivist" geometrical method of reason and deduction in the investigation of truth
(Calcott, "A Candid Disquisition, etc.," 1769; Oliver, "Remains," II, 301.) In general
it appears that the founders of Masonry intended to follow the same methods for their
social purposes which were chosen by the Royal Society for its scientific researches
(Gould, "History," II, 400). "Geometry as a method is particularly recommended to
the attention of Masons." "In this light, Geometry may very properly be considered as
a natural logic; for as truth is ever consistent, invariable and uniform, all truths may be
investigated in the same manner. Moral and religious definitions, axioms and
propositions have as regular and certain dependence upon each other as any in physics
or mathematics." "Let me recommend you to pursue such knowledge and cultivate
such dispositions as will secure you the Brotherly respect of this society and the
honour of your further advancement in it" (Calcott; Oliver, ibid., II, 301-303). It is
merely through inconsistency that some Grand Lodges of North America insist on
belief in the Divine inspiration of the Bible as a necessary qualification and that not a
few Masons in America and Germany declare Masonry an essentially "Christian
institution." According to the German Grand Lodges, Christ is only "the wise and
virtuous pure man" par excellence, the principal model and teacher of "Humanity"
("Sign.", 1904, 45 sq., 54; Gruber , 49 sqq.; Idem [41, 23 sq.). In the Swedish
system, practised by the German Country Grand Lodge, Christ is said to have taught
besides the exoteric Christian doctrine, destined for the people and the duller mass of
his disciples, an esoteric doctrine for his chosen disciples, such as St. John, in which
He denied that He was God (Findel, "Die Schule der Hierarchie, etc.", 1870, 15 sqq.;
Schiffmann, "Die Entstehung der Rittergrade," 1882, 85, 92, 95 sq.). Freemasonry, it
is held, is the descendant of the Christian secret society, in which this esoteric doctrine
was propagated. It is evident, however, that even in this restricted sense of
"unsectarian" Christianity, Freemasonry is not a Christian institution, as it
acknowledges many preChristian models and teachers of "Humanity." All instructed
Masons agree in the objective import of this Masonic principle of "Humanity,"
according to which belief in dogmas is a matter of secondary importance, or even
prejudicial to the law of universal love and tolerance. Freemasonry, therefore, is
opposed not only to Catholicism and Christianity, but also to the whole system of
supernatural truth. The only serious discrepancies among Masons regarding the
interpretation of the texts of 1723 and 1738 refer to the words: "And if he rightly
understands the Art, he will never be a stupid Atheist or an irreligious Libertine." The
controversy as to the meaning of these words has been particularly sharp since 13
September, 1877, when the Grand Orient of France erased the paragraph, introduced
in 1854 into its Constitutions, by which the existence of God and the immortality of
soul were declared the basis of Freemasonry (Bulletin du Grand Orient de France,
1877, 236-50) and gave to the first article of its new Constitutions the following tenor:
"Freemasonry, an essentially philanthropic, philosophic (naturalist, adogmatic) and
progressive institution, has for its object the search after truth, the study of universal
morality, of the sciences and arts and the practice of beneficence. It has for its
principles absolute liberty of conscience and human solidarity. It excludes none on
account of his belief. Its device is Liberty, Equality, Fraternity." On 10 September,
1878, the Grand Orient, moreover, decreed to expunge from the Rituals and the lodge
proceedings all allusions to religious dogmas as the symbols of the Grand Architect,
the Bible, etc. These measures called out solemn protests from nearly all the Anglo-
American and German organs and led to a rupture between the Anglo-American
Grand Lodges and the Gr. Or. of France. As many freethinking Masons both in
America and in Europe sympathize in this struggle with the French, a world- wide
breach resulted. Quite recently many Grand Lodges of the United States refused to
recognize the Grand Lodge of Switzerland as a regular body, for the reason that it
entertains friendly relations with the atheistical Grand Orient of France ("Intern.
Bull.," Berne, 1908, No. 2). This rupture might seem to show, that in the above
paragraph of the "Old Charges" the belief in a personal God is declared the most
essential prerequisite and duty of a Mason and that Anglo-American Masonry, at
least, is an uncompromising champion of this belief against the impiety of Latin
But in truth all Masonry is full of ambiguity. The texts of 1723 and 1738 of the
fundamental law concerning Atheism are purposely ambiguous. Atheism is not
positively condemned, but just sufficiently disavowed to meet the exigencies of the
time, when an open admission of it would have been fatal to Masonry. It is not said
that Atheists cannot be admitted, or that no Mason can be an Atheist, but merely that
if he rightly understands the Art, he will never be a stupid Atheist, etc., i. e., he will
not hold or profess Atheism in a stupid way, by statements, for instance that shock
religious feeling and bring Masonry into bad repute. And even such a stupid Atheist
incurs no stronger censure than the simple ascertaining of the fact that he does not
rightly understand the art, a merely theoretical judgment without any practical
sanction. Such a disavowal tends rather to encourage modem positivist or scientific
Atheism. Scarcely more serious is the rejection of Atheism by the British, American
and some German Grand Lodges in their struggle with the Grand Orient of France.
The English Grand Lodge, it is tme, in its quarterly communication of 6 March, 1878
(Chr., 1878, 1, 161) adopted four resolutions, in which belief in the Great Architect of
the Universe is declared to be the most important ancient landmark of the order, and
an explicit profession of that belief is required of visiting brethren belonging to the
Grand Orient of France, as a condition for entrance into the English lodges. Similar
measures were taken by the Irish, Scottish, and North American Grand Lodges. But
this belief in a Great Architect is so vague and symbolical, that almost every kind of
Atheism and even of "stupid" Atheism may be covered by it. Moreover, British and
American Grand Lodges declare that they are fully satisfied with such a vague, in fact
merely verbal declaration, without further inquiry into the nature of this belief, and
that they do not dream of claiming for Freemasonry that it is a "church," a "council," a
"synod." Consequently even those are acknowledged as Masons who with Spencer
and other Naturalist philosophers of the age call God the hidden all-powerful principle
working in nature, or, like the followers of "Handbuch" (3rd ed., II, 231), maintain as
the two pillars of religion "the sentiment of man's littleness in the immensity of space
and time," and "the assurance that whatever is real has its origin from the good and
whatever happens must be for the best."
An American Grand Orator Zabriskie (Arizona) on 13 November, 1889, proclaimed,
that "individual members may believe in many gods, if their conscience and judgment
so dictate" (Chr., 1890, 1, 243). Limousin (Acacia, 1907, 1, 48), approved by German
Masons (Sign., 1907, 133 sq.), says: "The majority of men conceived God in the sense
of exoteric religions as an all-powerful man; others conceive God as the highest idea a
man can form in the sense of esoteric religions." The latter are called Atheists
according to the exoteric notion of God repudiated by science, but they are not
Atheists according to the esoteric and true notion of God. On the contrary, add others
(Sign., 1905, 64), they are less Atheists than churchmen, from whom they differ only
by holding a higher idea of God or the Divine. In this sense Thevenot, Grand
Secretary of the Grand Orient of France, in an official letter to the Grand Lodge of
Scotland (30 January, 1878), states: "French Masonry does not believe that there exist
Atheists in the absolute sense of the word" (Chr., 1878, 1, 134); and Pike himself
(Morals and Dogma, 643 sqq.) avows: "A man who has a higher conception of God
than those about him and who denies that their conception is God, is very likely to be
called an Atheist by men who are really far less believers in God than he," etc. Thus
the whole controversy turns out to be merely nominal and formal. Moreover, it is to
be noticed that the clause declaring belief in the great Architect a condition of
admission, was introduced into the text of the Constitutions of the Grand Lodge of
England, only in 1815 and that the same text says: "A Mason therefore is particularly
bound never to act against the dictates of his conscience," whereby the Grand Lodge
of England seems to acknowledge that liberty of conscience is the sovereign principle
of Freemasonry prevailing over all others when in conflict with them. The same
supremacy of the liberty of conscience is implied also in the unsectarian character,
which Anglo-American Masons recognize as the innermost essence of Masonry.
"Two principles," said the German Emperor Frederick III, in a solemn address to
Masons at Strasburg on 12 September, 1886, "characterize above all our purposes,
viz., liberty of conscience and tolerance"; and the "Handbuch" (3rd ed., II, 200) justly
observes that liberty of conscience and tolerance were thereby proclaimed the
foundation of Masonry by the highest Masonic authority in Germany.
Thus the Grand Orient of France is right from the Masonic point of view as to the
substance of the question; but it has deviated from tradition by discarding symbols
and symbolical formulae, which, if rightly understood, in no way imply dogmatic
assertions and which cannot be rejected without injuring the work of Masonry, since
this has need of ambiguous religious formulae adaptable to every sort of belief and
every phase of moral development. From this point of view the symbol of the Grand
Architect of the Universe and of the Bible are indeed of the utmost importance for
Masonry. Hence, several Grand Lodges which at first were supposed to imitate the
radicalism of the French, eventually retained these symbols. A representative of the
Grand Lodge of France writes in this sense to Findel: "We entirely agree with you in
considering all dogmas, either positive or negative, as radically contradictory to
Masonry, the teaching of which must only be propagated by symbols. And the
symbols may and must be explained by each one according to his own understanding;
thereby they serve to maintain concord. Hence our G. L. facultatively retains the
Symbol of the Gr. Arch, of the Universe, because every one can conceive it in
conformity with his personal convictions. (Lodges are allowed to retain the Symbols,
but there is no obligation at all of doing so, and many do not.) To excommunicate
each other on account of metaphysical questions, appears to us the most unworthy
thing Masons can do" (Sign., 1905, 27). The official organ of Italian Masonry even
emphasizes: "The formula of the Grand Architect, which is reproached to Masonry as
ambiguous and absurd, is the most large-minded and righteous affirmation of the
immense principle of existence and may represent as well the (revolutionary) God of
Mazzini as the Satan of Giosue Carducci (in his celebrated hymn to Satan); God, as
the fountain of love, not of hatred; Satan, as the genius of the good, not of the bad"
(Rivista, 1909, 44). In both interpretations it is in reality the principle of Revolution
that is adored by Italian Masonry.
PROPAGATION AND EVOLUTION OF MASONRY
The members of the Grand Lodge formed in 1 7 1 7 by the union of four old lodges,
were till 1721 few in number and inferior in quality. The entrance of several members
of the Royal Society and of the nobility changed the situation. Since 1721 it has
spread over Europe (Gould, "History," II, 284 sq.). This rapid propagation was chiefly
due to the spirit-of the age which, tiring of religious quarrels, restive under
ecclesiastical authority and discontented with existing social conditions, turned for
enlightenment and relief to the ancient mysteries and sought, by uniting men of
kindred tendencies, to reconstruct society on a purely human basis. In this situation
Freemasonry with its vagueness and elasticity, seemed to many an excellent remedy.
To meet the needs of different countries and classes of society, the original system
(1717-23) underwent more or less profound modifications. In 1717, contrary to Gould
(Concise History, 309), only one simple ceremony of admission or one degree seems
to have been in use (A. Q. C., X, 127 sqq.; XI, 47 sqq.; XVI, 27 sqq.); in 1723 two
appear as recognized by the Grand Lodge of England: "Entered Apprentice" and
"Fellow Craft or Master." The three degree system, first practised about 1725, became
universal and official only after 1730 (Gould, "Cone. Hist.," 272; 310-17). The
symbols and ritualistic forms, as they were practiced from 1717 till the introduction of
further degrees after 1738, together with the "Old Charges" of 1723 or 1738, are
considered as the original pure Freemasonry. A fourth, the "Royal Arch" degree (ibid.,
280) in use at least since 1740, is first mentioned in 1743, and though extraneous to
the system of pure and ancient Masonry (ibid., 3 18) is most characteristic of the later
AngloSaxon Masonry. In 1751 a rival Grand Lodge of England "according to the Old
Institutions" was established, and through the activity of its Grand Secretary,
Lawrence Dermott, soon suipassed the Grand Lodge of 1717. The members of this
Grand Lodge are known by the designation of "Ancient Masons." They are also called
"York Masons" with reference, not to the ephemeral Grand Lodge of all England in
York, mentioned in 1726 and revived in 1761, but to the pretended first Grand Lodge
of England assembled in 926 at York (Handbuch, 3rd ed., I, 24 sqq.; II, 559 sqq.).
They finally obtained control, the United Grand Lodge of England adopting in 1813
their ritualistic forms.
In its religious spirit Anglo-Saxon Masonry after 1730 undoubtedly retrograded
towards biblical Christian orthodoxy (Chr., 1906, II, 19 sq.; 1884, II, 306). This
movement is attested by the Christianization of the rituals and by the popularity of the
works of Hutchinson, Preston, and Oliver with Anglo-American Masons. It is
principally due to the conservatism of English-speaking society in religious matters, to
the influence of ecclesiastical members and to the institution of "lodge chaplains"
mentioned in English records since 1733 (A. Q. C., XI, 43). The reform brought by
the articles of union between the two Grand Lodges of England (1 December, 1813)
consisted above all in the restoration of the unsectarian character, in accordance with
which all allusions to a particular (Christian) religion must be omitted in lodge
proceedings. It was further decreed "there shall be the most perfect unity of obligation
of discipline, or working .... according to the genuine landmarks, laws and
traditions . . . throughout the Masonic world, from the day and date of the said union
(1 December, 1813) until time shall be no more" (Preston, "Illustrations," 296; seq.).
In taking this action the United Grand Lodge overrated its authority. Its decree was
complied with, to a certain extent, in the United States, where Masonry, first
introduced about 1730, followed in general the stages of Masonic evolution in the
The title of Mother Grand Lodge of the United States was the object of a long and
ardent controversy between the Grand Lodges of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.
The prevailing opinion at present is, that from time immemorial, i. e., prior to Grand
Lodge warrants (Chr., 1887, II, 313), there existed in Philadelphia a regular lodge
with records dating from 1731 (Drummond, "Chr.," 1884, II, 227; 1887, 1, 163; II,
178; Gould, "Concise History," 413). In 1734 Benjamin Lranklin published an edition
of the English "Book of Constitutions." The principal agents of the modern Grand
Lodge of England in the United States were Coxe and Price. Several lodges were
chartered by the Grand Lodge of Scotland. After 1758, especially during the War of
Independence, 1773-83, most of the lodges passed over to the "Ancients." The union
of the two systems in England (1813) was followed by a similar union in America.
The actual form of the American rite since then practised is chiefly due to Webb
(1771- 1819), and to Cross (1783-1861).
In France and Germany, at the beginning Masonry was practised according to the
English ritual (Prichard, "Masonry Dissected," 1730); but so-called "Scottish"
Masonry soon arose. Only nobles being then reputed admissible in good society as
fully qualified members, the Masonic gentlemen's society was interpreted as a society
of Gentilshommes, i.e., of noblemen or at least of men ennobled or knighted by their
very admission into the order, which according to the old English ritual still in use, is
"more honourable than the Golden Fleece, or the Star or Garter or any other Order
under the Sun." The pretended association of Masonry with the orders of the warlike
knights and of the relegious was far more acceptable than the idea of development out
of stone-cutters' guilds. Hence an oration delivered by the Scottish Chevalier Ramsay
before the Grand Lodge of France in 1737 and inserted by Tierce into his first French
edition of the "Book of Constituvons" (1743) as an "oration of the Grand Master," was
epoch-making (Gould, "Concise History," 274 sq., 357 sq.; Boos, 174 sq.). In this
oration Masonry was dated from "the close association of the order with the Knights
of St. John in Jerusalem" during the Crusades; and the "old lodges of Scotland" were
said to have preserved this genuine Masonry, lost by the English. Soon after 1750,
however, as occult sciences were ascribed to the Templars, their system was readily
adaptable to all kinds of Rosicrucian puiposes and to such practices as alchemy,
magic, cabbala, spiritism, and necromancy. The suppression of the order together with
the story of the Grand Master James Molay and its pretended revival in Masonry,
reproduced in the Hiram legend, representing the fall and the resurection of the just or
the suppression and the restoration of the natural rights of man, fitted in admirably
with both Christian and revolutionary high grade systems. The principal Templar
systems of the eighteenth century were the system of the "Strict Observance,"
organized by the swindler Rosa and propagated by the enthusiast von Hundt; and the
Swedish system, made up of French and Scottish degrees in Sweden.
In both systems obedience to unknown superiors was promised. The supreme head of
these Templar systems, which were rivals to each other, was falsely supposed to be
the Jacobite Pretender, Charles Edward, who himself declared in 1777, that he had
never been a Mason (Handbuch, 2nd ed., 11, 100). Almost all the lodges of Germany,
Austria, Hungary, Poland, and Russia were, in the second half of the eighteenth
century, involved in the struggle between these two systems. In the lodges of France
and other countries (Abaft I, 132) the admission of women to lodge meetings
occassioned a scandalous immorality (Boos, 170, 183 sqq., 191). The revolutionary
spirit manifested itself early in French Masonry. Already in 1 746 in the book "La
Franc-Maconnerie ecrasee," an experienced ex-Mason, who, when a Mason, had
visited many lodges in France and England, and consulted high Masons in official
position, described as the true Masonic programme a programme which, according to
Boos, the historian of Freemasonry (p. 192), in an astonishing degree coincides with
the programme of the great French Revoluon of 1789. In 1776 this revolutionary spirit
was brought into Germany by Weisshaupt through a conspiratory system, which soon
spread throughout the country (see Illuminati, and Boos, 303). Charles Augustus of
Saxe-Weimar, Duke Ernest of Gotha, Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick, Goethe, Herder,
Pestalozzi, etc., are mentioned as members of this order of the Illuminati. Very few of
the members, however, were initiated into the higher degrees. The French Illuminati
included Condorcet, the Duke of Orleans, Mirabeau, and Sieyes (Robertson, "Chr.,"
1907, II, 95; see also Engel, "Gesch. des Illuminatenordens," 1906). After the
Congress of Wihelmsbade (1782) reforms were made both in Germany and in France.
The principal German reformers, L. Schroder (Hamburg) and I. A. Fessler, tried to
restore the original simplicity and purity. The system of Schroder is actually practiced
by the Grand Lodge of Hamburg, and a modified system (Schroder-Fessler) by the
Grand Lodge Royal York (Berlin) and most lodges of the Grand Lodge of Bayreuth
and Dresden. The Grand Lodges of Frankfort-on- the-Main and Darmstadt practise an
eclectic system on the basis of the English ritual (Bauhutte, 1908, 337 sqq.). Except
the Grand Lodge Royal York, which has Scottish "Inner Orients" and an "Innermost
Orient," the others repudiate high degrees. The largest Grand Lodge of Germany, the
National (Berlin), practises a rectified Scottish (Strict Observance) system of seven
degrees and the "Landes Grossloge" and Swedish system of nine degrees. The same
system is practised by the Grand Lodge of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. These two
systems still declare Masonry a Christian institution and with the Grand Lodge Royal
York refuse to initiate Jews. Findel states that the principal reason is to prevent
Masonry from being dominated by a people whose strong racial attachments are
incompatible with the unsectarian character of the institution (Sign., 1898, 100; 1901,
63 sqq.; 1902, 39; 1905, 6).
The principal system in the United States (Charleston, South Carolina) is the so-called
Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, organized in 1801 on the basis of the French
Scottish Rite of perfection, which was established by the Council of the Emperors of
the East and West (Paris, 1758). This system, which was propagated throughout the
world, may be considered as the revolutionary type of the French Templar Masonry,
fighting for the natural rights of man against religious and political despotisms,
symbolized by the papal tiara and a royal crown. It strives to exert a preponderant
influence on the other Masonic bodies, wherever it is established. This influence is
insured to it in the Grand Orient systems of Latin countries; it is felt even in Britain
and Canada, where the supreme chiefs of craft Masonry are also, as a rule, prominent
members of the Supreme Councils of the Scottish Rite. There are at the present time
(1908) twenty-six universally recognized Supreme Councils of the Ancient and
Accepted Scottish Rite: U. S. of America; Southern Jurisdiction (Washington),
established in 1801; Northern Jurisdiction (Boston), 1813; Argentine Republic
(Buenos Aires), 1858; Belgium (Brussels), 1817; Brazil (Rio de Janeiro), 1829; Chile
(Santiago), 1870; Colon, for West India Islands (Havana), 1879; Columbia
(Cartagena); Dominican Republic (S. Domingo); England (London), 1845; Egypt
(Cairo), 1878; France (Paris), 1804; Greece (Athens), 1872; Guatemala (for Central
American), 1870; Ireland (Dublin), 1826; Italy (Florence), 1858; Mexico (1868);
Paraguay (Asuncion): Peru (Lima), 1830; Portugal (Lisbon), 1869; Scotland
(Edinburgh), 1846; Spain (Madrid), 1811; Switzerland (Lausanne), 1873; Uruguay
(Montevideo); Venezuela (Caracas). Supreme Councils not universally recognized
exist in Hungary, Luxemburg, Naples, Palermo, Rome. Turkev. The founders of the
rite, to give it a great splendour, invented the fable that Frederick II, King of Prussia,
was its true founder, and this fable upon the authority of Pike and Mackey is still
maintained as probable in the last edition of Mackey's "Encyclopedia" (1908), 292 sq.
(To be continued)
— o —
THE WORD OF GOD
BY BRO. JOSEPH FORT NEWTON, ENGLAND
Many are they who ask us for a Masonic interpretation of the Book of the Sacred Law
but not often are we able to refer them to anything so well put as the following; such a
treatment of the Bible is one that every Mason will find helpful, be he Christian, Jew,
or what not. As to the author, there is no need to introduce him to our readers, for he
was THE BUILDER'S first editor and will remain to the last one of its warmest
"The word of God is living and active." (Heb. iv. 12.)
FROM end to end the Bible is a unity in faith, in spirit, and in purpose, yet it nowhere
speaks of itself as a whole. It is too wise, too modest, too intent on the great story it
has to tell. Nor does it ever call itself the Word of God. Indeed, it is a striking fact that
in the Bible the name "Word of God" is never once applied to anything written. No,
the Word of God is living, active, creative, a seed, a fire, a light, a power at once
august and intimate, and no book, nor all the books in the world, can contain it. Every
land, every people, every age hears it, each in its own tongue, and because there are
always listening ears, however few,
One accent of the Holy Ghost
The heedless world has never lost.
The Word of God is eternal. It spoke to man before he had learned to write; it will still
speak when all books are faded and forgotten. Heaven and earth may pass away, but
the Word of God will not fail of fulfilment. "All flesh is grass, and all the glory of
man as the flower of the grass. The grass withereth and the flower thereof falleth
away, but the Word of God endureth forever." What God has to say to man, and what
at last He actually did say, is something too great, too wonderful for any human
words, even the most eloquent or searching or patient, ever to tell. It is a Living Word,
not known by pronunciation, but only by incarnation. As it has been written: "God,
who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto our fathers by the
prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son. The Word was made
flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, full of grace and truth."
WHAT, THEN, IS THE BIBLE ?
It is a record of the God-revealing experiences of the poets, prophets, and apostles of a
noble people, as they learned of God through long, tragic ages and wrote what they
had learned. Not in writings primarily, but in living history, in actual life, God shows
Himself to men. From the Bible we learn not only the truth made known in ancient
time, but the method by which it was revealed, and the one is hardly less vital than the
other. God spoke to the people which were of old, as He speaks today, if we have ears
to hear, through life, through facts and events and actions and persons, through history
and reflection, and the Bible tells us of the life and action, both personal and national,
in which He was revealed. Thus God speaks in the Bible, but He does not write. Then,
as now, it was revelation through experience, and the value of the Bible is not only
that it tells us what men learned of God in the long ago, but that it helps us to read His
newer Word as it is written in the events and actions of today.
Here lies the answer to these two profound questions: Does God speak to man today?
If so, how? Primarily, men are inspired, not writings. Wherever a man, by any means
soever, learns what reality is, and what are the laws of the world, he is reading the
Word of God. Often he can decipher only here a line and there a stanza, but God is
speaking to him. Thus, when Job passed through his bitter trial he learned a new Word
of God about suffering, namely, that suffering is not always punishment; and he was
able to utter it in a drama that has in it the wide spaces of the desert, its lucid skies, its
loneliness and storm. When David was an outcast, a fugitive hunted and pursued,
finding shelter in caves, he learned that
GOD LIVES IN THE HEART
more than in palaces, and he told in song what he had learned in sorrow. When the
king died and the nation was shaken, and men felt the insecurity of all things mortal, it
was given Isaiah to look through that event and see One who never dies and a throne
that cannot be shaken; and he made record of his vision. When Jeremiah was left to
stand alone in defiance of the people whom he loved one of the grandest and most
tragic figures in history he made a new adventure in prayer, and rose above book
religion to life religion; as, later, the Prophet of the Exile discovered, in the dark night
of his sorrow, the Suffering Servant of God walking the dreamy ways of prophecy.
After this manner the Bible was written, slowly and painfully; not so much written as
wrought out amid the struggle and sorrow of human life, each page lived before it was
written each line, as Whitman said, wet with human tears. Hence the power that is in
it which passes like fire from heart to heart adown the ages; and hence, also, the close
connection between this Book and the living and abiding word of God. No other book
has such power to comfort and command. A famous Master of Balliol has told us that
we should "read the Bible as we read any other book"; and that is the surest way to
leam that it is unlike any other book. The Bible is literature, if by that we mean "the
lasting expression in words of the meaning of life"; but it is something more. It is not
art, it is life. Men feel this to be so. Let a man try to read the Bible as literature only,
and he will find that in the drama which it unfolds there can be no spectators, no
lookers on. Everybody the reader included is drawn into the action; each must take
sides or make "the great refusal." Something reaches out from its pages and pulls us
into the play of its realities. It is not a fiction of what life might have been; it is
LIFE ITSELF SPEAKING TO US
Nor is this to disparage literature and its service to the human spirit. Far from it. How
we love to wander in its Chamber of Imagery, amid forms lovely and haunting, where
Homer sings, and Plato speaks, and Hamlet dies; and there are lines in the great poets
often, even, in lesser poets which open, in the light of a flash, a vista half on earth and
half in heaven. Literature is beautiful and benign, free, ideal, and richly rewarding.
But the Bible is more compelling than persuasive. It does not entertain; it commands.
It is too serious, too earnest, too honest to care for art for the sake of art. Its art is
artless, its puipose being to lay hold of the heart, the conscience, the will, bringing to
the service and solace of man the truth made known in the agony and bloody sweat of
mortal life. When a man tries to read the 51st Psalm as he reads any other poem, he
finds himself face to face with God and the soul, humbled, subdued, rebuked, exalted.
He will not doubt its inspiration; the sense that he is one with that long- dead singer
will melt his heart, and he will say, if he be wise, "This thing is of God." Such is the
power of the Bible, as unique as it is searching, and if we let it have its way with us,
yielding our souls to its passion for righteousness, and its sense of the Eternal Life in
Time, it will lead us infallibly in the way everlasting.
Yes, infallibly. Argument is not needed; the fact proves it. The Bible grew up out of a
religious life, rich, profound, revealing, and if rightly used and obeyed it will
reproduce in us, infallibly, the kind of life which produced it.
NO OTHER KIND OF INFALLIBILITY
is needed. Strong men, serious men who wish to fight the battle of character through
to something like decency, ask for no surer token. As the Bible is a Book of Life, so
its verity and value are to be known only in the midst of life. Experience is the final
test. "The word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest
do it." Texts often tell us their meaning if we turn them over, and if we invert this text
we leam that the word that is nigh unto us, in our mouth, and in our hearts, is the
Word of God. Evermore the challenge of Jesus, is, If we do, we shall know. The
writers of the Bible did not argue; they obeyed. They lived before they wrote. They
were men of like passions as ourselves, of like faiths and fears and failings. They
wrestled with reality; they were sorely tried, and their cries of anguish echo to this day
deathless trumpets from the oblivion of olden time. In weakness they were made
strong; in darkness they saw "the brightness on the other side of life"; in death they
were not dismayed. They show us in actual life, in outward experience and inward
realisation, how the victory is won how truth is learned by living.
Here, in this wise and faithful Book, is the very stuff of life itself; the human realities
out of which, not as a theory, but as a fact, faith in God grows. How many they are!
The two characters of this Book are the Sky and the Dirt. Its story is
THE ROMANCE OF GOD AND MAN
and their eternal life together. Sunrise, sunset, summer, autumn, winter, calm, storm,
birth, marriage, love, laughter, pain, sorrow, sin, repentance, the broken heart and the
open grave these old, familiar, human things live in the Bible against a background of
Eternity. Those men of old needed guidance as they faced the mystery of life and
realised how many questions remain unanswered. They needed comfort in sorrow,
courage in disappointment, hope in failure. They needed forgiveness for sin,
inspiration in monotony, and companionship as one by one their friends dropped
away, leaving them to walk alone. Above all they needed light as they looked out
upon the world of their day, so tangled and so troubled, and were tempted to despair
of finding a way out. They found what they needed in God, and in God alone, and set
down in simple words what they learned of His will, His care, His plans for them and
their duty to Him. God was made known to them in heroic experience, in sins
forgiven, in minds made clear of earthly mists, in hearts healed of the old hurt of life
that dumb and nameless pain that throbs at the heart of our being as we march or
creep or crowd through the welter of war, poverty, disease and death.
WHAT ABOUT OUR OWN DAY?
This, at least: God is not the great I was, but the great I am, and His Word speaks to us
today, as of old, through the facts, the events, the actions, the persons of our time, in
actual life, as it unfolds, in history as it is wrought out in blood and fire and tears.
"This day hath this Scripture been fulfilled in your ears," not as some one event was
foreshadowed in the imagery of Ezekiel or the visions of the Apocalypse, but as the
same laws of righteousness which ruled in the past fulfil themselves anew in the
outworking of events in the overthrow of injustice, in the triumph of right over might,
in the deliverance of the poor and the afflicted. "God is not dumb that He should
speak no more." He who awakened the soul of Israel and lifted Isaiah to a purer vision
through the march of the Assyrian army must have some word to speak to us in the
upheavals and overturnings of our day. Manifestly, it is a word not only for our
individual leading, but for humanity in its collective life, if we have the insight to read
and interpret it. But who is sufficient for these things ?
How can we read aright the strange, troubled, tragic history of our own day? Here the
Bible is our surest guide, prophet, and friend, if we would trace the ways of God in
"long-lived storm of great events," since His newer Word must confirm the old,
fulfilling itself in the processes of the years. The mighty prophets were the first to see
that events do not run wild, but are held and guided by an unseen Hand. Not only one
nation, but as their vision broadened, all nations, all lands, all ages, were seen to be
subject to Divine control; all events of history the march of armies, the fate of
dynasties, the fall of cities are at the bidding of His will. Assyria was a razor to cut
away things outgrown. Egypt was a pruning hook. There is no fact today, however
appalling, that those watchers of the ways of God did not face. Then, as now, the hills
trembled and the uproar of the people was like the roaring of the sea, but they saw
God in all, through all, over all. They discerned, now dimly, now clearly, the moral,
social, and spiritual purpose of God in history, and it is thus that their Book of Vision
is a light to our feet in this far-off age.
THE MYSTERY OF MASONRY
BY BRO. JOSEPH BARNETT, CALIFORNIA
THERE is a distinction between Mystery and Secret. Anything not understood is a
mystery. After it is understood it may be held a secret. Before he receives the light,
Masonic knowledge is a mystery to the candidate. After he receives the knowledge it
may be spoken of as a secret, something to be guarded by him. yet the mysteries of
Masonry is a specific term for Masonic knowledge; and this is concerned with the fact
that there are two separate and distinct words written "mystery."
One of these words is derived from the Greek muo, meaning "I conceal." This
concealment may have referred originally to something enclosed and thus hidden
from eavesdroppers. A secondary meaning seems to have developed from this; for
some authorities render muo, "I cover the eyes and mouth." The other word, originally
"mistery," is derived from the Latin ministro, meaning "I perform a service." It is a
variant of ministry, and is associated with serviceable knowledge of an art. In ages
past, when few could read, knowledge was generally conveyed by word of mouth.
The two words, mystery and misterm being pronounced alike, naturally became
confused with one another. And so far as our Fraternity is concerned, mystery now
includes both meanings something unknown, and technical knowledge of an art.
The ancient temple Mysteries included esoteric knowledge communicated only within
the sacred precincts to those who had been carefully examined as to their fitness to be
intrusted with such knowledge, and guarded from those excluded from the temple
during the ceremonies. These latter have been called the "profane," which means
"before the temple," in contradistinction to those admitted, suggesting the
unconsecrated as distinguished from the consecrated. From references in the literature
of that period-we leam that some of these teachings concerned the gods, and that the
initiate was called a "mystes." Because the candidate or some other person or thing
was veiled or concealed, the ceremonies have been called the Mysteries. And because
they alluded to the gods, mystery has come to have a special application to the
supernatural, to sacred things, to the higher knowledge. In church literature, for
instance, the Communion is called "that holy mystery," suggesting something beyond
human understanding. Freemasonry uses the word concerning the unknown, but
makes no suggestion of the impossibility of understanding. On the contrary, the
teaching is that both human and Divine knowledge are diligently to be sought after.
Then, as now, the honor of being invested with important secrets consisted in the fact
that initiates were carefully selected as men worthy to be intrusted with such
knowledge. And guarding such secrets has always had a twofold puipose the keeping
them from the unworthy, and the preservation of them that they should not be lost.
Whatever interest the former may have, the latter has always been the real puipose.
In medieval times, the various crafts often staged bible scenes, which they called
Miracle Plays. At Chester, in 1327, a number of different crafts or gilds acted a series
of these plays: The Fall of Lucifer, by the Tanners; The Creation, by the Drapers; The
Last Supper, by the Bakers; and other scenes by other crafts. These dramas were
staged partly to teach the ignorant and partly from natural love of the drama, which
seems inherent in man from childhood to age. These plays have also been called
Mysteries, possibly because they dealt with sacred subjects, possibly because they
were performed by craftsmen; for at that time a trade was called a "mistere." Chaucer
so used the word in the following lines:
"In youth he learned hadde a good mistere,
He was a well good wright, a carpentere."
The word was from the French mestier, since modified to metier. The trade itself was
called a "mister," or "mistere," and the knowledge of the art its "misterie."
Both the knowledge of the art and the higher knowledge to which the candidate
aspires are included in the Mysteries of Masonry. Freemasonry is probably the only
institution which uses the word in this way; and it may be held as Significant of a
peculiar connection with the past. It includes art and science, skill and knowledge,
working and thinking. And in wedding labor and wisdom, as did the ancients, in
teaching that man should be a complete, well-balanced being, with all his various
faculties, corporeal as well as mental, constantly developing, as becomes one who
claims divine relationship, it may offer evidence that Freemasonry is the legitimate
heir of the hopes, ideas, and methods on teaching, that from remote tunes have been
associated with human aspiration and progress.
The ancient expression is conserved and a hint of the original teaching still survives,
though the art itself serves mainly to furnish us with symbols for a more noble and
glorious purpose. Whether the mysteries of Masonry be considered from the
viewpoint of knowledge of a useful art, or as higher knowledge guarded and preserved
by the worthy and select, there is in both alike the principle of service; and this was
evidently a dominant idea through all the past. To the Freemason, service is an
inspiring word. It is one of our ideals, a better word than autocracy. It means that he
who is highest is he who is most useful.
Isocrates speaks of "those sacred Mysteries which fortify the initiated against the
terrors of death and inspire them with pleasing hopes of a happy immortality."
Thereafter they were associated in some degree with the priesthood, and in so far
consecrated. Thenceforth they and their works were devoted to the gods, and it
became a duty to endeavor to make themselves worthy of their high calling. This
attitude dignified service. Instead of being the sign manual of interiority, serviceable
work became an exceptionally honorable thing, the evidence of real worth, the
justification of men's claim to consideration among their fellows. Freemasonry by
precept and example teaches the importance of material usefulness as well as of
wisdom. And it is interesting to note that the whole world is awaking to the
importance of citizenship based on usefulness. The people of our own country are
beginning to class the idle rich with the idle tramp; and in so doing they are
developing the Masonic teaching that as we are "rational and intelligent beings, so
should we ever be industrious ones."
It is also the Masonic teaching that in our service to God and man is consecration. The
interests of Freemasonry are many, but all tending to one purpose. Its direction is
building up. Its work is all constructive. Its reward is in itself the consciousness of
walking 'uprightly in our several stations before God and man." Its genesis, lessons
and methods are the mysteries of Masonry. They include what is worthiest and highest
in human aspiration and effort, and especially concern the practical working out of our
relations with one another and with the world around us, through knowledge and skill
acquired from apprenticeship to the Art that Builds.
— o —
THE GRACE OF TOLERANCE
BY BRO. L. B. MITCHELL, MICHIGAN
Tolerance is the grace, among those classed sublime
That gives to all beliefs their right to be Divine;
It is the key that swings the doors of progress wide,
It stands at every turn where creeds, as such, divide.
The religions of the world must its true meaning know
Ere to a progress real they can credentials show.
All men of all of them must equal be to each
And by its spirit live and practice what they preach.
'Tis true that tolerance as the essential grace
Must be lived out to win the try-outs of the race;
All what faith may imply, all pleadings of the soul
Will never find the way unto the glory goal.
We've got to be "converted," made over to the new
And this, to men of creeds will seem the strangest to;
Though they stake all on them, though they square to their plan,
No mere belief in them has ever made a man.
And he may be a man who clearly shuns them all
And full salvation finds in nature's way and call.
'Tis character that stamps upon the soul its worth
And this gives tolerance its right to mle the earth.
And till its sway shall come, the peace beyond compare
Will never come to earth, though fervent be its prayer.
There's naught save its rare grace can smoothe its wrinkles out
And make the going fine upon its upward route.
And all this being true, there is no way or plan
Among the ways and means that have been tried by man
To make the world ideal than is the mystic Art
That truly brothers all if clean of soul and heart.
— o —
KEEPING THE HOME FIRES BURNING
Not only overseas but on this side of the water the Red Cross has found the need of a
Hasty marriages, young mothers, homes suddenly deprived of husband and father, old
people left alone in the closing years of their life presented new problems that had to be
The Home Service Bureau was organized to deal with the problems of the families of
enlisted men and during the period fof the war "The Greatest Mother" watched tenderly
over the welfare of "those at home." Household questions were solved through her
friendly aid. Advice and counsel were freely given. Home service workers were
instructed in carefully planned classes on such matters as dietetics, child welfare, simple
hygiene and sanitation.
Questions of delayed rent were met by temporary loans, legal matters were directed in
proper channels and instructions were given in regard to making applications for
delayed allotments. She lent her friendly aid toward smoothing out the nigged paths
that often blocked communication overseas: She carried to the man in the trenches word
of his new responsibilities at home and she brought back to the young mother the
message that he trusted in the Red Cross to help care for them both.
Since the signing of the armistice Home Service work has almost doubled. The families
of over 250,000 soldiers and sailors were already under its care. Now that the men are
coming back they extend to them the same sympathy and encouragement. Clothing,
shelter and temporary aid, with the psychological support of helping to start him on the
right road to civil reinstatement, all come within the province of Home Service and he
may apply to the Home Service Bureau of any Red Cross chapter (and only fifty of the
thirty-seven hundred chapters lack a Home Service Department) with the sure
consciousness that he will obtain help and encouragement.
The divine essence itself is love and wisdom. - Swedenborg.
A VISIT TO AN OLD SCOTTISH LODGE
BY BRO. S. CLIFTON BINGHAM, NEW ZEALAND
SOME years ago it was my privilege to spend a brief portion of a well-earned holiday
in the beautiful City of Edinburgh; all too brief, however, to properly view the
multitudinous objects of interest that await visitors there.
In the newer part of the town the premises of Grand Lodge have much to interest a
member of our Fraternity, whilst the hall of the Supreme Grand Chapter of Scotland,
which is modelled on the form of an Egyptian Temple, is probably unique of its kind,
and the special arrangements for the working of the degree of the H. R. A. are most
striking. Here I met a dear old Craftsman in the person of the late M.E. Comp. R. S.
Brown, since passed to his eternal rest, but then the most respected Grand Scribe E of
the Supreme Grand Chapter of Scotland. Although our Supreme Chapters were not at
that time in amity (nor are they now so far as that point goes), he courteously waived
all questions of the kind, and was at considerable pains to facilitate my desire for more
light on Freemasonry. From him I received an invitation to attend a Chapter meeting
the next evening, which I was informed was timed to commence at eight o'clock, and,
with my New Zealand experience of Masonic punctuality in my mind, I presented
myself at the hall at 7.55 p.m., to find the Janitor in sole possession. At 8.10 p.m. a
Companion wandered in who turned out to be the presiding officer for the evening.
Five minutes later the Grand Scribe E arrived, and the members began to assemble,
work commencing at 8.40 p.m., and as it comprised an Obligation in the Mark, and
the conferring of the Excellent and Arch degrees following, the Chapter was kept
busy. We closed down at 10.50 sharp, and at that hour the subsequent proceedings had
little interest for me. Here, however, I was introduced to a very distinguished member
of the Craft in the person of the late Dr. Geo. Dickson, with whom I had a very
interesting conversation during the intervals of labour, and subsequently renewed
when we met in other bodies. On his advice the next day I made my way down to
Canongate, the heart of old Edinburgh, in search of St. John's Chapel, the home of
Canongate Kilwinning Lodge, No. 2, on the Roll of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. The
Canongate, which is the main avenue from he Palace of Holyrood to the city, contains
many interesting dwellings, once the abode of the nobility and gentry of Scotland.
Along here was the gallant but ill-fated Montrose drawn on a hurdle to his execution,
whilst his enemies jeered from the balconies above. In the fateful year of 1745 did
"Bonnie Prince Charlie" ride through in gay procession during that short campaign,
the disastrous result of which practically ended the active prosecution of Stuart claims
to the throne of Great Britain. Our first impression of the neighbourhood had been,
indeed, not of the best, as the previous Saturday evening, on our arrival in the city, we
had strolled this way, and were spectators of some Scottish methods of ending the
week which were not altogether admirable. Many, if not all, of the houses are now
very dilapidated in appearance, and the family washing generally in evidence.
From the Canongate, under an archway, we entered St. John Street, occupied in the
last century by the aristocracy of the day. Here Tobias Smollett, the author of
"Roderick Random," lived in lodgings. The Earl of Dalhousie, Grand Master of
Scotland in 1766, resided in No. 5, whilst No. 10 once housed James Ballantyne,
friend of and publisher to Sir Walter Scott, also a member of our great Fraternity. We
entered an unpretentious building, ascended the stairs, and found ourselves in the hall,
which, built in the year 1736, has been continuously used ever since for the purposes
of Freemasonry. In this respect, no other building or lodge room in the wide world can
compare. The appearance of the room was somewhat familiar, as I had often looked at
the picture of Robert Bums' inauguration as Poet Laureate of the lodge, said to have
occurred on March 1, 1787, of which two copies are in our own building. Although
for some time it was believed to be a true representation of the event, Masonic
historians are today generally agreed that such did not take place. The lodge minutes
of the meeting are silent on the point, and the artist has introduced into the picture
individuals who could not possibly have been present on the occasion, and some of
them not even members of the Craft, as far as is known, whilst Burns himself, who
would undoubtedly have esteemed such a recognition as a great compliment, never
made reference to it. Over the fireplace hangs a portrait of William St. Clair, who
occupied the distinguished position of first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of
Scotland, and was made a "brother of the Antient and Honourable Fraternity of Free
and Accepted Masons" in this Lodge on 18th May, 1736, and on the third of the
following month was "advanced to the degree of Fellowcraft," he "paying into the box
as usual"; raised in November of the same year, at which meeting the minutes record
that St. Clair, during the ceremonies, occupied the chairs of J. and S. W. and R. W.
M., finally dismissing the lodge in that character. It seems evident from this record
that our distinguished brother must have been very apt at assimilating ritual or the
work have been much more simple than our present-day methods. In a recess on the
opposite side of the lodge is the organ, the oldest pipe instrument in use in Scotland at
the time. It was built as far back as 1734, but still possesses a wonderfully sweet tone.
A peculiarity is that the flat keys are black, and the raised ones, originally white, are
now of a deep orange. A corner by this instrument is yet pointed out as Bums'
favourite work, and often he must have heard his own produces sung to its
The Master's chair (dating back to 1730) that occupied by the Secretary seemed even
older in design with the "lokkit kist" and the poor box, the quaint Warden's jewels,
and the peculiar coat and vest worn by the Tyler were all objects of great interest. The
old measures, drinking and firing glasses, and toddy ladles, bore witness that the
punch bowl depicted in the picture previously mentioned was put to good use by our
The lodge dates back to the year 1677 as an organized body, when a number of
operative Masons, residing in the Canongate, applied to Mother Kilwinning for
permission to enter and pass Masters, which was, after due consideration, granted.
As this is the earliest known warrant or charter, and differs very considerably from the
document that is attached to the Master's pedestal in our lodge, I give the text in full:
"At the Ludge of Kilwining the twentie day of December 1677 yeares, deacons and
wardenes and the rest of the brethren considering the love and favour shown to us be
the rest of the brethren of the Cannigate in Edinbroughe, ane part of our number being
willing to be boked and inroled the qch day gives power and liberty to them to enter,
receive, and pass ony qualified persons that they think fit, in name and behalf of the
ludge of Killwinning, and to pay their entry and booking moneys due to the Grand
ludge as we do ourselves, they sending on of their number to us yearly, and we to do
the lyke to them if need be. The qlk day ther names are insert into this book."
The signatures of twelve brethren follow, to each of which a mark is affixed.
Fortunately the document was entered verbatim in the records of the Mother Lodge, as
the original has long since disappeared. Thus we find the Lodge of Kilwinning
exercising the powers of a Grand Lodge some forty years before the formation of the
Grand Lodge of England, whose Bicentenary we celebrated in the year just past. The
traditions of Canongate as an operative body go much further back, however, when
the building of Holyrood Abbey and Palace was commenced by King David, in 1 128.
The lodge seems to have been identified with the foundation of the building, and was
probably formed by the bands of workmen brought together to work thereon. The
troubles of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries gradually severed the ties that
bound the religious bodies and craftsmen together, and the latter finally took full
charge of their own affairs.
No other charter than that originally issued by Mother Kilwinning has ever been
sought, or indeed would be accepted, and, the original document not being in
existence, that portion of the ceremony of initiation with which we are familiar, viz.,
the reference to "our charter or warrant of constitution," is perforce omitted.
Unfortunately the early minute books of the lodge are not to be found, those in
existence dating from February 13, 1735, when "the lodge having met according to
adjournment," a committee was set up for the preparation of by-laws. In accordance
with the custom of the time, fines were strictly enforced for non-attendance, and
doubtless the brethren who regularly attended were all the more ready to see such
inflicted, as the historian of the lodge relates that the money so collected was laid out
in refreshments for the evening.
The lodge took a leading part in the erection of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, and was
successful in obtaining the office of first Grand Master for one of its own initiates,
"William St. Clair, of Roslyn," who had previously graciously renounced the office
and hereditary dignity of "Patron, Protector, Judge or Master of the Massons of
Scotland," which appeared to have been but a visionary position. However, the
delegates from the thirty-three lodges assembled in the hall seemed to have been
much impressed, and a unanimous vote was the result, although other candidates were
in the field. It may be noted that the lodge showed no undue modesty in recognising
the merits of their other brethren, as in issuing its deliverance upon the "Methods and
Regulations anent the Erection of Grand Master," it recommended that, should St.
Clair not be elected, four other members of the lodge be named for the respective
offices of Senior and Junior Wardens, Treasurer and Secretary. More than twenty
other members of the lodge subsequently occupied the highest position in the Craft, a
record of which the lodge may well be proud. A hasty glance through the minute book
was all that time permitted, but the following items of interest may be noted: In 1739
the sum of three guineas was voted in response to a petition for "the Relief of the
indigent Episcopal clergy." In 1741 mention is made of a Quaker brother, who "had
been guilty of ane indignity to the lodge," a very early reference, probably the earliest
of the initiation of a member of the Society of Friends, whose tenets, it will be
remembered, forbid the taking of oaths. In 1752 the lodge and members combined
raised 30 pounds towards a fund to beautify the City of Edinburgh. The following
year Sir Ralph Abercrombie, the hero of the naval battle of Aboukir Bay, was
admitted, also the Rev. Peter Simpson, "free out of regard to the ministerial cloth and
character," a mark of respect now very much out of date. A visit from the Grand
Master, Lord Aberdour, is noted in 1755, and the following year this brother occupied
the same position in the Grand Lodge of England. An instance of quick work is given
in 1766, when the Earl of Dalhousie was entered, passed and raised on the 29th
March, and present five days later as "Grand Master Elect."
Although the claim that Burns was Poet Laureate to the lodge is now practically
abandoned, records exist of a special deputation, in 1835, for the puipose of initiating
James Hogg, known to fame as "The Ettrick Shepherd," and the bestowal of such title
upon him, and thereafter some fifteen brethren have from time to time been so
distinguished. The lodge possesses an actual Master Mason's apron of Burns' Mother
Lodge, in use when he was initiated, whilst Grand Lodge has amongst its treasures a
mallet and apron said to have been used by Burns whilst presiding as Deputy Master
of St. Andrew Dumfries, No. 179. 1 had the pleasure of wearing one and wielding the
other for a moment.
In 1798, several members of the Band of the Second Battalion of Edinburgh
Volunteers were admitted gratis, in consideration that their services were required on
St. Andrew's Day.
The lodge is one of the few which holds its annual festival on St. John the Baptist's
Day, St. John the Evangelist being much more frequently used. I am enabled to give a
drawing or plan of this lodge, which you will note varies from the form we are used to
here in some important particulars, as the position of the Wardens, D.C., J.D., and
I.G., whilst positions for additional officers are those of Bible and Standard Bearers,
two of the latter. This form is similar to that in use in Mother Kilwinning, and I
believe in many other Scotch lodges, and appears to be in line with Continental
customs. In the ceremonial working the preliminary perambulations are taken outside
the Wardens and brethren, and finally advancing between the pillars to the altar for
obligation, and in that respect I witnessed somewhat analagous methods in
Pennsylvania working, where the brethren stood in a square, and the perambulations
took place outside. The working generally appears to be similar to that in Canterbury
Kilwinning, Lyttelton, the test of memory, once in regular use in my Mother Lodge,
as I well remember, never being omitted.
The list of officers is formidable, comprising, in addition to those with which we are
familiar in New Zealand, a Depute and Substitute Master, Assistant Secretary,
Architect, Jeweller, Bible Bearer, Poet Laureate, Curator and Librarian, Marshal,
Sword Bearer, Director of Music, First and Second Standard Bearers, President of
Stewards, and seventeen other Stewards, the latter taking precedence of the I.G. I was
not privileged to witness an installation ceremony, and therefore cannot say whether
the duties of each are as minutely described as occasionally happens in New Zealand.
On such occasion an obligation de fideli seems to be taken, as shown on the
installation programme following, but probably the officers were grouped for such
purpose, otherwise a considerable amount of time would be required.
There are some other points of interest in the programme I now exhibit to which I will
briefly direct your attention.
Lodge Canongate Kilwinning
Festival of Saint John and Installation
of Office Bearers in the Chapel of
Sanct Johne in the Canongait, on Tuesday,
June the 24th, 1918
Bro. Thos. S. Muir, R. W. Master (bis).
Order of Service
R. W. Bro. James Russell, P. M.
1 . The Lodge will be resumed and the work opened.
2. The Secretary will read the Minutes of Election.
3. The Lodge will be raised to the Third degree and the Office Bearers elected. The
Lodge will be reduced to the Lirst degree.
4. The directori of Ceremonies will present the R. W. Master on his re-election.
5. The Charges and Regulations will be read for the assent of the R. W. Master.
6. Obligation de fideli administratione offieii.
7. Choral Sanction. Tune 'Trench."
I to the hills will lift mine eyes.
8. Installing Ceremony.
9. Presentation of Constitution, Charter, etc.
10. Installation and investiture of Office Bearers.
11. The Right Worshipful Installing Master will address
The R. W; Master.
The Worshipful Wardens.
12. Hymn. Tune "Tallis."
We thank Thee, gather; let Thy grace
Our loving circle still embrace;
Thy mercy shed its heavenly store;
Thy peace be with us evermore.
13. Calling off and Harmony.
(A procession will be formed to St. John's Hall. The Office Bearers will precede the
R. W. Master. The remanent Brethren will follow him.)
14. The work will be Resumed and closed, and the Lodge will be adjourned in due
and antient form.
Note: A photograph of Brother Thomas Scott Muir, M. A., Right Worshipful Master,
and an engraving of the arms of the lodge complete the programme.
Following an old custom, the lodge is never closed, only the work, so that the first
item reads: The lodge will be resumed and the work opened. The lodge is raised to the
Second degree for election of office bearers (other than the Master, who appears to
have been elected at a previous meeting), and then reduced to the First degree. After
the ceremony is concluded the lodge is called off and a procession formed, the office
bearers preceding the Right Worshipful Master, and remanent brethren following, to
St. John's Hall for harmony.
A somewhat full toast list is then dealt with:
"The Holy Lodge of St. John."
"The King and the Craft."
"The Grand Lodge of Scotland."
(Loving cup passed round and collection for Grand Lodge Annuity Fund).
"The Installing Master."
"The Senior Warden, the Junior Warden, and remanent Office-bearers."
"The Visiting Brethren."
"The Stewards and the Artistes of the Evening."
"The Right Worshipful Master."
"The Tyler's Toast."
The programme then goes on to say: "The work will be resumed and closed, and the
lodge will be adjourned in due and antient form."
I do not quite understand why the first toast is given such prominence, but in Scotland
it may have other reference than in England, where it was for many years customary
for unattached brethren to describe themselves as belonging to the Lodge of St. John.
It will be noted that the toast of the Master comes rather lower down on the list than
would be the case with us, but it appears to be unusual to change the Master every
year, and in the present instance it is evidently a reinstallation: note the word "bis"
following the title of R. W. Master. A regulation is in practice which may well be
followed in other places, viz., that after each candidate has been entered, passed and
raised he will be placed under the care of a M. M., specially deputed by the R. W. M.
to instruct him, so that his knowledge of the Craft may be a credit to himself and to
his Mother Lodge. A varied and lengthy experience in proving visitors commends this
provision very much to my mind.
The fees for the three degrees are 5 5s., a higher figure than usual, I understand, in
Scotland, but on the other hand the annual test fee of 5s. would seem to us to be
absurdly low. As is customary in Craft lodges in Scotland, the Mark Degree is
conferred on Master Masons, fee 5s. Members have the privilege of wearing a special
A private golf club is connected with the lodge, admission to which is restricted to the
members, and, in common with other lodges in Edinburgh and the neighbourhood,
rinks are entered annually for Masonic bowling competitions.
Meetings of the lodge are held twice a month, indicating that candidates are plentiful;
indeed, I was informed that the roll of members, running from 1736, contains some
thousands of names.
The calendar issued by the lodge also chronicles a monthly meeting of the Canongate
Kilwinning Royal Arch Chapter, working degrees on same lines to our own Supreme
Grand Chapter, in addition to which the C. K. Encampment of Knight Templars also
assembles monthly. The degree of R. A. is a necessary prerequisite to this body.
Reference has been made in Vol. I of our Transactions to an ancient body of operative
craftsmen who appeared to have had customs closely appertaining to those of
Freemasonry. These were styled "Squaremen," and comprised masons, carpenters,
slaters, and glaziers, possibly gathering together to care for the special privileges of
such trades, which were from their very nature interdependent upon each other. In D.
Murray Lyon's history of Mary Chapel, the first lodge of Scotland, mention is made of
the Squaremen "word," and of the "grip and sign" of that organization, which the
members were sworn to keep secret, and that an obligation was taken, but not on the
The only remaining section of this association, styled "The Corporation of
Squaremen," now meets in St. John's Chapel on the first lawful day of each month.
Admission is restricted to Mark Master Masons who hold or have held office in a
Craft Lodge, and the ceremony is said to be suitably connected with operative work.
The fees are quaintly expressed in old currency; thus the entrance is seven merks,
equivalent to 7s. 7d., and the diploma costs "twa merks, twa groats and twa bawbees,"
which appears to me to amount to about 2s. 1 Id. A special apron is required, and an
annual test fee payable, but the members object to the ceremony being termed a
degree. The Coiporation is governed by a Deacon, Boxmaster, and twelve assistants.
Several of the quaint summonses issued seem to suggest that a certain amount of
humour characterizes the Association.
The programmer exhibited both bear a device of a deer's head, with a rood or cross
thereon, indicating the former close connection of the Lodge with the Abbey of
Holyrood, founded by King David I. in 1 128, and dedicated by him to the Holy Rood
or Cross, brought to Scotland by his mother, the pious Margaret. The motto, "Post
Nubila Pheebus," which may be freely translated, "After darkness, Light," is a
peculiarly suitable one for an organization devoted to bringing desirable and approved
candidates from darkness to Light.
FROM LABOR TO REFRESHMENT
From labor to refreshment - what a happy thought it is,
As we journey down the avenues of Time,
To feel that sweet refreshment will award our labors here,
In that Lodge where every precept is sublime.
To feel that all the burdens, all the sorrows, all the woes,
All the trials, all the aches, and all the pains,
Will be buried as poor Hiram, when the Soul in freedom goes
To that Lodge where our Grand Master ever reigns.
- From G.L.P. of Mississippi, 1914.
From labor to refreshment, - ‘tis the Junior Warden's call
In every Lodge known as Symbolic here below,
And every Brother pauses when he hears the gavel fall.
For its potent power all the Masons know.
Our mystic work suspended, sweet converse reigns supreme,
And fellowship, which is our richest gem,
Is set in Love cemented, and its iridescent gleam
Lights to brilliancy our dazzling diadem.
From labor to refreshment, - tis the Great Grand Master's call
When our labors in the earthly Lodge are o'er,
And He takes us through the portals of His Grand Celestial Hall
There to live in sweet refreshment evermore.
There we shall see completed all the Master's wise designs,
No longer need the level and the square;
And there will be no longer any need of grips and signs,
For we shall all be Brethren over there.
- Bro. Nelson Williams, Ohio.
— o —
ZERUBB ABEL, standing in the treasure house of the conqueror of his people, when
confronted with the long-lost Ark of the Covenant, gave utterance to the supreme
lament of his countrymen when he cried out: "How tender hath been the memory of the
myriads of thy people these ten weeks of years, longing to know thy fate, thy destiny!"
It was his hour of trial. His people had been captives more than seventy years. The sight
of the Ark, the dearest symbol of his race, awoke high exaltation in his heart. The agony
of slavery weighed heavily upon him. The tempting offer to restore to his people the
ancient emblem of their faith was the climax of a series of crafty and cunning
inducements for him to betray his Masonic secrets to the Persian despot. But the
temptation was spumed. The faith of Zembbabel did not waver. The legend tells us that
his faithfulness was abundantly rewarded, his steadfastness brought him to a new
understanding which enabled him to change the agonies of his people into a triumphant
realization of their national hope.
But yesterday the curtain was rung down upon what the old earth supposed was its
civilization. That which we as boys studied and observed and admired as our
civilization, with all its supposed progress, has passed into history. Much of it has been
discarded. Mankind, piling bodies one upon the other in apparently heedless sacrifice,
has poured out its blood in behalf of a new order of things, trusting the antiseptic
qualities of that red flood to wash from the human heart all its hatred. Yea, more, this
war has divided time into "before" and "after," has dipped the pen of fate in blood, and
handed it to the new bom age with the command that it write a new decree, or rather an
old decree with a new monition - "Love one another lest ye die!"
How vivid is the parallel to be drawn between the story of Zembbabel and that of the
present hour. Twice "ten weeks of years" have elapsed since first Masonry began to
have an influence in the shaping of American destinies. We have grown from a handful
to an army in numbers. In 1861 to 1865 a civil war could not break down our
brotherhood. The sharp details of the strife and sorrow of that war have been blurred out
throughout our nation by a newer call to arms in behalf of humanity. Our boys returning
from Flanders fields know no North, nor South, nor East, nor West. They are
Americans, prouder than ever of all that goes to make up "home," and glorying, now, in
these long years which have finally wiped out the old sectionalism. Triumphant they are
returning, having accomplished their Puipose.
As you welcome them, note the new light in their eyes, the new firmness in their step,
the new squareness of their shoulders. Does it speak to you of nothing more than mere
physical development? The only reason that any of these boys failed to realize their
ambition to get into action against the Hun was because that self-same Hun found out
through his much advertised secret service (even as it was intended that he should find
out), how many of them were coming, and what manner of things it was that they were
bringing with them for his swift destruction ! He found that a roll call of his prisoners
revealed boys with German names. He asked them, in German: "Why do you fight the
fatherland? You speak German, your fathers came from Germany - you are Germans !"
The answer was always ready, always the same: "No, we are not Germans. We are
Americans. We fight you because you have abandoned the humanities, the moral law,
those things which man has designated as civilization, those things which of right
belong to the citizens of a true 'fatherland.' We fight you because you have wronged our
motherland, America, the motherland which our parents and we ourselves have
accepted, and which has accepted us with open arms. The land which has offered us
protection, opportunity, and the right to become a peer in a nation of equals! We love
this motherland which has educated us, taught us the rights of man and proven to us that
we should defend those rights for ourselves, for our posterity, for all the world - even
you ! " He found that here in our cantonments they had been educated - educated as no
other soldiers on earth ever were educated, to pass righteous judgment upon him. This
they had done, and were on their way to execute that judgment when he cried
The same education which made them pass that judgment, will cause them now to pass
judgment upon everything which we of the United States of America are doing and
have done. Their judgment will be made up as a result of the education which they have
received in the camps, illuminated by their observation and experience in contact with
the nations of Europe. That education was primarily a great lesson in efficiency. They
will accept as their leaders the wise men who fought in France, who there learned more
of the civilization of the Old World than the schools of America had ever taught. Those
leaders will come back with a world- vision, something we Americans have until now
sadly lacked, and they are going to judge our American institutions in the light of their
newer and broader vision.
I am optimist enough to believe that on the whole they will find the things to which
they have come back to be the dearest and most precious inheritance in the whole
wide world, and will be resolved to do their utmost to preserve them. And yet, if here
and there they find some product or outgrowth of our civilization, some institution,
which is lagging behind the times, failing to live up to its possibilities, what do you
think will be their judgment upon it? Either one or the other of two things will happen:
they will discard it and build a new one which can be made to function with the pep and
ginger taught them in these months and years of efficient training, or they will step into
the places of leadership in that organization and force it to become efficient in a fashion
that will make the stand-patter of old cry "kamerad!"
Their first question asked of Masonry, as of everything else, will not be "What have
you done?" but "What can you do?" They will not listen to platitudes. They will make
short shift of the idealist, trying to picture in words of inspiration the accomplishment
of "ten weeks of years." They will not be satisfied with mere growth, even though it be
from a handful to an army. The erection of a thousand temples will not unduly impress
them, nor the thousand marks of what we have been calling "progress."
No! They will first ask: "What are your principles?" Then, if these are practical: "What
will you do to make those principles effective?" It will not be enough for us to say that
"we preach the right to think, the right to speak, the right to worship in freedom, and as
conscience alone shall dictate." They will demand: "How many of your Masons know
what these things mean?" "How many really believe in them?" "How many believe in
them so hard that they are willing to fight for them, live for them, die for them if need
be ?" "The things you mention sound decidedly like those principles of Americanism
for which we went out to fight. We believe in them ! If your Masonic institution stands
for them, whole-heartedly and unafraid, then we are willing to stand by you, and use
your institution as a great force for the upbuilding of the new America which we have
come home resolved to build. Are you ready for such comradeship with us? If so, Fall
in! Attention! Right face! Forward, March!"
If from the above you understand that I mean to imply that Masonry has too often stood
crosswise, barring the road of progress, you have understood me correctly. We have too
long stood idly by, with our flank exposed to the enemy. And these young men who
have come back to us with bars and oak leaves upon their shoulders will not hesitate to
tell us that wooden guns are as good as rifles only if neither is to be used. They may
give us a respectful salute, but they will insist that an unused principle is no better than
a wooden gun ! And when they see at work in the country which they were ready to die
for pernicious principles subversive of that same government, they will be forced to
look with scorn upon those of us who have been asleep at the post of duty.
What can we say in our defense? Do we want to plead that the great number of new
recruits has swamped us with ritualistic work, making necessary the drafting of every
officer for that alone? Will they not reply that from their new vision of things the ritual
can be considered to be no more than the "setting up exercises" of Freemasonry, and but
a small part of her real work in the world, measured by our own statement of the things
for which she stands? When they point to the thousands of our "deserters," our
unaffiliates, and charge that these have permitted themselves to be suspended for non-
payment of dues because they failed to see our real and vital purposes being carried out,
what shall we say in reply? If they bring us into a court martial, to try us for
consecrating ourselves to mere mechanical memorizing of a ritual, spending too much
time preaching principles, living too much in a dead past, and wasting our opportunity
to become a vital force, working as an institution for the good of mankind, what then
can we possibly plead as a defense?
I would not be deemed a pessimist or an alarmist, but I want to say to you, brethren,
that the experience of being Grand Master of Masons, even in so splendid and advanced
a Grand Jurisdiction as Iowa, tends to make one humble and modest in one's opinion of
the worth of Freemasonry to mankind. Granted that the effect of our "work" upon men
instills much of value into the very fibre and being of its membership, there is still so
much that might be done that what has been done looms small indeed by comparison.
We may well ask ourselves whether we are not hampered by habits which have been
slowly growing upon us for years - habits which we have formed under the delusion
that they were a part of the original Masonry when in truth they never were such? Have
we not canonized these habits into "landmarks" and proceeded to idolize them ? So that
whenever someone tries to do something new and fresh and great, something that shall
prove Masonry a living force and not a dead fossil, the high priest of these "landmarks"
tries to stifle him with a cry of "heresy!"
Alas, my brethren, it is all too true. There is no thoughtful one among us who does not
know that the slavery of convention holds us in its toils. Like Zerubbabel, we need to
see and be again inspired by the great symbols of our faith which lie buried, not in the
treasure house of an enemy, but right in our own treasure house, into which we do not
seem to find time to enter.
Had we applied our age-old principles to modem conditions, inteipreting the
educational ideals of our Second degree in terms of our twentieth century life, we might
have attained to Preston's ideal of growth and development. Because we circumscribed
ourselves too closely and would not grow up with the world, we have not been the
active, positive force in the world that we ought to have been. Because we would not
accept the responsibilities of an institution, as institutions must in Anglo-Saxon
civilization, we have not been accepted as an institution. We have been misunderstood,
criticized, misquoted; our enemies have seized upon the opportunity to damn us, and
because of our inactivity, our apathy, and especially our disunity, we have furnished
them evidences of an impotence contrary to what we have individually wanted to do, as
men and as a fraternity, in harmony with our great fundamental principles.
Will this new world which is now in the throes of birth countenance anything but
efficient service in the days to come? Will a fraternity obligated to the advancement of
human freedom escape indictment, if it fails to measure up to its avowed standards ? I
doubt it. Crystallization and fossilization are not to be in this new world. If you and I do
not act to banish them, then a younger generation will do it for us. The great, crying
need of Masonry today is for a faith like unto that of Zerubbabel,a great faith in God,
our country, our people, and ourselves. A faith undaunted, which will make every
Mason work to the utmost of his abilities, whatever his rank or station, for the
understanding and establishment of Masonic principles. And that faith must permeate
us all, craftsmen and Master alike, else we fail utterly to accomplish the destiny which I
believe to be ours.
The war has challenged our efficiency in more ways than one. Our deplorable disunity
was largely responsible for the poor showing which we made in the welfare activities
for which so much credit was claimed by other organizations. That some agency hostile
to us was able to almost completely thwart our ambition to serve is largely our own
fault; we had the numbers, but not the union in which lies strength.
Yet there was more than this at fault. The activities of the lodge are today lopsided.
They take too little account of civic duty, to which we are pledged in our obligations,
and concerning which our charges have so much to say. Had we been awake to our
civic duties we should long since have evolved some sort of federation among our
Grand Lodges, so that in time of national emergency we might have acted as a national
unit. But for the war I doubt very much whether we should have been even now as near
to unity of thought and action as we are.
These things are not said to discourage. I make no plea for an advertising department in
Masonry. The world at large already credits us with a far greater influence than we
really possess. The real need is within our fraternity. The real challenge to us is that we
prove the worth of that fraternity. That we show cause why it should continue to exist.
The challenge may be issued by the soldier brother returning from Flanders fields, ft
may be issued by the world at large. Force of circumstance and a disdain for
camouflage may cause us to issue it to ourselves. If we will but do the latter our
problem is half solved. The cry of the hour in the nation is for leadership. Leaders who
will do things. Leaders who are so filled with inspiration and consecration to the
development of true citizenship - for the sake of America! - that they will forget self
and self-interest and work for the attainment of the ideal. So it is in Masonry. The
Masonry which is real has a contribution of infinite value to make to America. It
depends upon our leadership. The challenge to that leadership, however, ought not to
be made but once ! If that leadership will not take up the gauntlet, at a time when
America and civilization itself need true defenders of the faith, then it is time for a
change of leaders. G.L.S.
THE WIDENESS IN THE TEMPLE
BY BRO. L. B. MITCHELL, MICHIGAN
There's a wideness in the Temple like the wideness of the sun
Where the things that hearts are craving may be sought, and found, and won;
Based upon earth's limitations, rising to the very skies
There is ample room within it for the normal heart supplies.
We may be ourselves therein, yet upon the Level meet
In a rest-room where the spirit finds a heart to heart retreat.
And it seems to me as time shall exact its tolls of men
That 'twill be the mystic chamber where the heart can say amen
To the things that it incloses as so needful for release
From the "wear and tear" of life to its doors enclosing peace.
It has been this in the past, but it may be that its Art
May be needed more and more as the "clearing house" of heart.
And what'er be its relation to economies of earth
There must be no narrowing of its sphere of soulful worth.
It is grand that to the temper of a jostling human race
There can be its home refinement and its moral, gentle grace
Where its own may in the vieing for the noblest and the best
Glorify their hours within by a true refining test.
There's a wideness in the Temple like the wideness of the need
Of the hearts who may therein for its benedictions plead.
They may come from every station, from the world's work and its care
For its trusted, true evangel "carries on" as they should fare,
O, the Temple in its wideness has not yet its measure found,
But we know it rises high, and we know 'tis on the around
— o —
T-ime turns the field in a furrow,
I-mplants the seed in the soil,
M-atures the head on the harvest,
E-ndows eternal thy toil.
T-ime molds the mind of the Mortal,
I-mmortal broods in its breast,
M-atemal Matrix of spirits,
E-vangil guest of the blest.
T-ime folds thy soul as a silkworm
I-nwrapt in silken cocoon,
M-ade stronger, longer by spinning
E-ach thread of silk in its loom.
T-ime breaks the door of the prison,
I-nspires a moth in a worm.
M-ay not thy soul gain its pinions
E-volved in Time and its term ?
W-ilt thou thy treasure be counting?
I-n heart, in hand, and in brain
L-ies all thy world in a kernel;
L-ies all thy life in a grain.
T-hy toil, thy planting and tending
E-xpands the seed in thy soul,
L-ifts up thine eye to the harvest,
L-eads on thy feet to the goal.
- James T. Duncan
The progress of rivers to the ocean is not so rapid as that of man to error. - Voltaire.
— o —
THE QUESTION BOX
THE BUILDER is an open forum for free and fraternal discussion. Each of its
contributors writes under his own name, and is responsible for his own opinions.
Believing that a unity of spirit is better than a uniformity of opinion, the Research
Society, as such, does not champion any one school of Masonic thought as over against
another, but offers to all alike a medium for fellowship and instruction, leaving each to
stand or fall by its own merits.
The Question Box and Correspondence Column are open to all members of the Society
at all times. Questions of any nature on Masonic subjects are earnestly invited from our
members, particularly those connected with lodges or study clubs which are following
our "Bulletin Course of Masonic Study." When requested, questions will be answered
promptly by mail before publication in this department.
COUNCIL AND COMMANDERY MEMBERSHIP IN THE UNITED STATES
Can you give the number of Royal and Select Masons (Council) and Knights
exemplar (Commandery) in the United States at the present time? R.H.A., Colorado.
Such membership is shown in the following table prepared by Brother Albert K.
Wilson, Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Kansas, and published in the 1919
Proceedings of that Grand Lodge:
United States totals
++ General Grand Council subordinate
+ Grand Encampment subordinate
* See Massachusetts and Rhode Island
* * *
NUMBER OF ROYAL ARCH MASONS IN THE UNITED STATES
A few months since you published statistics showing the number of subordinate lodges
and membership of the severs Grand Jurisdictions. Can you give us similar statistics
relativ to Royal Arch Masonry ? F.R.L., Vermont.
The following figures are taken from the Proceedings of the General Grand Chapter of
the United States, which have just been issued:
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CONCERNING QUALIFICATIONS OF PETITIONERS FOR CHAPTER
DEGREES IN MISSOURI
Is a Master Mason who has not proved his proficiency in the Master Mason degree
eligible to petition for the Chapter degrees ? J. M. K., Missouri.
The laws of the Grand Lodge of Missouri cannot reach beyond its jurisdiction nor into
the realm of another system. The requirement of proficiency is Missouri Grand Lodge
The laws of the Grand Chapter of Missouri prohibit the reception of a petition for, or
the conferring of the Chapter degrees upon any one who is not at the time a Master
Mason in good standing in a lodge. His Chapter petition must show the lodge in which
he received the three degrees and also the lodge with which he is at the time affiliated,
and this petition must bear recommendation from two members of the Chapter wherein
it is filed, stating that he is a Master Mason, worthy and well qualified, and these names
are to go on the record. It is then ready for the committee of investigation, which has a
wide latitude but mustwmake terse report. Determination of all matters except as above
stated are with the committee and should be covered in the report, then subject to final
determination in the ballot.
The only case where proficiency is required by provision of Grand Chapter law is in the
formation of new Chapters, and this proficiency is relative to its own ritual.
An approved decision of our Grand High Priest in 1917 answers a similar question in
Robert F. Stevenson,
Grand Secretary, Grand Royal Arch Chapter, Missouri.
* * *
MASONIC TEACHINGS IN THE WORKS OF GREAT AUTHORS
Were any of the following writers Freemasons: Emerson, Carlyle, Channing, Holmes,
Browning and Tennyson?
W. L. F., Ohio.
To answer such a question as this with accuracy would demand months of careful
research. A search through such of our records as we have so far indexed gives us no
information on the subject. It is needless to say, however, that any reader will find much
to delight in in the writings of these great authors, and every Mason can find much in
their works that will help him as a Mason. Emerson's essay on "Friendship" is an ever-
enduring classic. Carlyle’s masterpiece, perhaps, is "Sartor Resartus": it is a philosophy
of human life expressed in a majestic symbolism.Channing was a preacher of a liberal
faith; Holmes was an essayist and poet; as for Browning and Tennyson every reader
will immediately recall many poems in their volumes which are not only interesting but
helpful to those that have high ideals of life. H.L.H.
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MASONRY IN BRAZIL
Seeking for some literary light on Masonry in South America and France through
fraternal periodicals in the native tongues, I turned to Brother Cowles, Secretary
General of the Supreme Council A. and A. S. R. for aid. I thought that if anybody could
put me on the scent of the game I was pursuing he was the man.
I was somewhat suiprised to leam from him that there are no Masonic journals in either
the Spanish states of the south or in France to which he could refer me. But he sent me
copies of the "Boletin do Grande Oriente do Brazil" as the best he could do for me. And
it is a plenty for the present.
I must say that in this work I find, so far as that Grand Orient is concerned, all that a
searcher for information could desire. The Bulletin, which records the transactions of all
of the grand bodies of the republic, is a magazine of more than a hundred and sixty
pages, full of news in condensed form. The minutes of proceedings are models of
clarity and brevity in combination.
Many things in its contents for May, 1918, one of the copies received, give a fine
insight into the activities and the spirit of our southern brothers, and those were the
things that 1 wanted to get at.
Of course I am not minded to inflict on the readers of THE BUILDER any lengthy
dissertation on Brazilian Masonry. But I will say that in fraternal enthusiasm and
industry it seems to me that they are in the front rank. They appear to do things. For
example, many of the Chapters in the different states maintain educational institutions -
I believe something like forty are mentioned as being so maintained.
I venture to offer translations of some paragraphs from the Council General of the
Order, of the ordinary session of May, 1918. These are selected at random for the
From Chapter Ganganelli do Rio, reporting that it had mad.e a contribution of 3 $00
(whatever that amounts to in Brazilian coin) for the oiphans of Brazilians who had died
in the war, and asking the high powers of the Order to take into consideration this
initiative, making an appeal to the officers of the Federation in regard to aiding so
patriotic a work.
A resolution was adopted to contribute 2$00 for a special fund to mitigate the
necessities of wives and children of "soldiers of land and sea" who had gone to the
Communication from the Portuguese Ambassador acknowledging receipt from the
Secretary General of the Order of its congratulations on the brilliant behavior of the
Portuguese army on the French front, and expression his great pleasure in the same.
Communication from Cosmopolita Chapter, Belem, state of Para, stating that it
maintained a school of more than sixty students, and had heretofore maintained a
college of more than a hundred and fifty students, and because it was in difficulties in
meeting its assessments, it asked that it be relieved of this payment. This request was
referred to the Sovereign Assembly General, and we notice in the June number that the
Grand Master ordered a reduction of fifty per cent of the amount of the assessment.
Communication from the secretary of the Grand Master of Pernambuco a proposition to
be adopted as a measure of general order for the facilitating of the selection and
admission of candidates for initiation that a photograph of the applicant be included in
application. This was referred to the Committee on Affairs General.
Lodge Libertadora, Acreana, reported that it had in its session of December 15, 1917,
resolved to institute a prize for the student in the public schools of the Orient of Villa
Seabra who should be most distinguished for diligence and deportment during the year,
the prize to be a medal of gold named for "Dr. Belfort Teixeira," in honor of the
delegate of the Grand Master in the department of Tarauca, Acre. "Received with
Communication from the secretary of Chapter Charitas, Minas, that on May 7 it had
resolved on the inauguration of a free school to be opened with ceremonies that month.
"Received with special pleasure."
There are many articles on various Masonic topics, and notes on Masonry in other
countries, and the several Rites.
A good discourse on "The Influence of Masonry in the History of Para," delivered by
Dr. Archimimo Pereira Lima, governor of that state and director of its historical
institute, also Grand Master, at the Institute begins thus:
"I ought to tell you first of all that I do not come to combat any religious creeds nor
philosophic institutions, whatsoever they may be. I recognize the moral value of
religion and its powerful influence for human betterment. Man is profoundly religious
when he scrutinizes the secret of his own existence; when he sounds the mysteries of
his own laborious life; when he searches the subtilities of his own soul, feeling all the
time more the need of a creed to explain to him the why of his own being.. .. Religions
pass away, destroyed by the forces of reason and of science; but religion endures
unchangeable. Monuments raised by creeds attest to fiiture generations the religious
conceptions of their predecessors. The pyramids of Egypt with their sanctuaries
concealed from the profane, like the cathedrals of Catholic worship and the mosques of
the Mussulman, witness of other great religious ideas that mark their epochs as
efficacious agencies in civilization."
I may perhaps as well explain in closing that Portuguese is not my native tongue, nor
have I ever regularly studied it; and if some of the other brothers wish to branch out in
the same way in their pursuits of light it will be well to do some work in the languages.
Mere difference in the language used has not much in it to frighten one who prefers to
get water from the spring rather than from the pond, and that is why I endeavor to get in
touch with literature from the different countries.
D. Frank Peffley, Washington.
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SHAKESPEARE ONCE MORE
R. Wor. Bro. Pickford in THE BUILDER for May has rather taken Bro. Clegg and
myself to task, as asserting that William Shakespeare was a Mason. It would appear as
though the good brother rather overshot the mark and swallowed bait, hook, sinker and
line. "There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in the
philosophy." As I read Bro. Clegg's scholarly article, I nowhere find him asserting that
Shakespeare was, or was not a Mason. "How much did he know of Masonry? We may
perhaps meet the inquiry by submitting such evidence as shows what he knew of things
and of practices that especially concern Freemasons. Obviously these can be but
fragmentary and merely suggestive." Again, referring to my own compilation of
references, with which Brother Clegg opens his thesis, it may be noted that they are
prefaced: "A few pertinent paragraphs from the great Bard, bearing on words and
phrases in common use among the Craft." If our learned Canadian brother will re-read
the article in the February number, I rather think he will perceive that it deals not so
much with the question used for its title, as to show how much the Craft had adopted
from the pages of the great Master and how words and phrases in common use in that
day have come down to us embodied in the work.
Doubtless Freemasonry had been in existence long years before the days of
Shakespeare, as an operative Craft. Whether he was, or was not, familiar with, or if he
was an initiate, is problematical. Certainly, however, much from his pages; more from
those of Bacon and the Elizabethen literary lights; many fragments from the classics,
and from curious high- ways and by-ways have found lodgment with the speculative
Craft. The value in such studies as Bro. Clegg's lies in the ability to place one's self
enrapport with the era and the thought of the age that formed our present work, and
thereby attain unto a knowledge of the intent and meaning of our forms and ceremonies.
The Shakespeare-Bacon controversy has been productive of one result at least, namely,
that their age produced a wonderful and general renewal of the study of scientific truths,
and induced the common use of cyphers. Masonry is marked with the first indelibly. Is
it possible that the ancient ritual contained a cypher equally as fascinating as the one so
strenuously argued for and against, in the authorship of the works of Shakespeare?
Henry F. Evans, Colorado.
* * *
A THEORY CONCERNING THE RITE OF DISCALCEATION
Not being satisfied with the monitorial explanation concerning the ceremony of
discalceation I have endeavored to find some more satisfactory allusion or reason for
the ceremony, and a few days ago came upon an idea that is now submitted to you for
what it is worth. The idea was obtained from an old bible commentary brought from
Scotland by my grandfather.
This work was edited by a Congregational writer, D. Davidson, in 1842. In his notes on
Ruth 4:1 1 he claims "the plucking off the shoe was the outward sign of resignation or
renunciation of all right to stand in the place of the deceased relative." As most students
of the bible agree that the Book of Ruth is an illustration of a custom long established
among the Israelites, our drawing on other books of the bible is permissible. I would
call attention to Deuteronomy 25 :5-10 inclusive, where divers laws and ordinances are
set forth. The reading of these verses convinces me that the closing chapter of the Book
of Ruth is an illustration of these laws and customs. The act or transaction took place in
the presence of the elders at the gates of the city, being then confirmed.
The situation of the candidate in Masonry at this time seems to bear out the idea of
resignation and renunciation, and such an interpretation likewise seems appropriate. He
has resigned a renounced all privileges of a profane and, in a measure, typifies the
unregenerate penitent seeking forgiveness and admission into the kingdom of God.
Samuel Barron, Illinois.
* * *
IS THE TERM "OBLONG SQUARE" A MISNOMER?
For several years I have been reading laborious efforts of many writers attempting to
define and apply the "oblong square," and to discuss learnedly and explain without
lucidity, something which never existed and which, as I have studied the matter, has no
place in Masonry and is entirely foreign to the Entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft
In the article entitled "Second Steps," page 3 of the Correspondence Circle Bulletin
section of THE BUILDER for May, the writer admits that "oblong square” seems a
contradiction terms. We might as well try to explain and elucidate a square circle.
I may have studied the matter to no purpose, but if I have not been improperly
instructing Masons in this part of the Old Commonwealth, the use of the proper
wording, geometrically and scientifically correct, "The angle of an oblong," will clear
up the matter and render wholly unnecessary grave arguments attempting to prove and
account for an impossibility.
A square is a square: an oblong is an oblong. Each has angles and all of them are right
angles, but there never has been known an "oblong square" or a square oblong.
The step or approach, the perfect point of entrance, of an Entered Apprentice and of a
Fellow Craft is "the angle of an oblong."
Each should be so instructed.
Chas. H. Fisk, Kentucky.
Justice without wisdom is impossible. - Froude.